French director Abel Gance left behind him a number of epic films that integrate spectacle, sharp social commentary and massively influential formal experimentation with framing, shot composition and dramatic structure. Here he applies all these to oen of the first pointedly anti-war films. Gance began the film shortly after returning from military duty himself; some of the battle scenes were shot on location, using actual soldiers as extras. Like Jules and Jim, the film’s narrative elaborates a love triangle interrupted by the war, but the impact of J’accuse comes from Gance’s powerful images of combat and its ability to destroy lives both on the battlefield and on the homefront.
Live musical accompaniment by Jeff Rapsis