Abel Gance’s extraordinary breakthrough work is a WWI drama considered to be one of the most technically advanced films of the era and the first major pacifist film. It was referred to by Gance as “a human cry against the bellicose din of armies.” It stars Marise Dauvray as Edith, a woman who is unhappily married to an older man, François (Séverin-Mars), but is actually in love with a young poet, Jean Diaz (Romuald Joubé). Both Jean and François end up on the front lines of World War I while Edith is captured by German forces and suffers atrocities at the hands of the soldiers. Gance contrasts individual human suffering with the larger horrors of war (depicted with stark realism).
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J' Accuse is a silent film classic meditation on the meaning, if there was a meaning, of the sacrifices made by the men of a French village in World War One, as understood by the dead soldiers as their spirits might have understood things if they could speak from the grave, and as their families might understand the values the men gave their lives for. Were their lives thrown away for nothing? Or did they die for something worth preserving? And if so, are the people they died for worthy conservators of those values. This is a deep exploration into the tragedy of war, the value of life, the enormous costs borne by the common man in the clash of economic powers. Truly a great film.
J' accuse movie should be standard required viewing in all high schools worldwide.
I love this movie. It is gives a great vision the horrors of war and how it affects everyone it touches.
Wonderfully original story and beautiful imagery. A must watch for any cinephile.