World War One

Jean-Pierre Jeunet – Un long dimanche de fiançailles AKA A Very Long Engagement (2004)

Tells the story of a young woman’s relentless search for her fiancé, who has disappeared from the trenches of the Somme during World War One. Read More »

Yervant Gianikian & Angela Ricci Lucchi – Su tutte le vette è pace (1998)

Quote:
Their Trilogia della guerra (War Trilogy) consists of Prigionieri della guerra (War prisoners), Su tutte le vette è pace (All’s Quiet on the Mountain Peaks), and Oh! Uomo (Oh! Man). The trilogy explores armed conflict from a variety of perspectives: from the relationship oppressor/oppressed and psychological warfare to the meticulous preparations undertaken by soldiers before battle, the plight of the wounded, and the realities of the battlefield. In their unusual and deeply individual method, Gianikian and Lucchi take old archival footage as the basis for their creations. They then set about reworking and transforming in ways that recontextualize and call our attention to the old film—marked, quite literally, by the passage of time—as a visual, historical document. Their work has been presented in many of the world’s most prestigious international festivals including Cannes, Berlin, Rotterdam, Paris and New York. Read More »

Georg Wilhelm Pabst – Westfront 1918 (1930)

Plot synopsis
Westfront 1918 (aka Comrades of 1918) was the first talkie effort from German filmmaker G. W. Pabst, which he made for Nero Films, a production company headed up by Seymour Nebenzahl. Like the contemporary Hollywood production All Quiet on the Western Front, Pabst’s film is a bitter, melancholy antiwar statement. The story concentrates on four German soldiers, sent to the front in the waning days of World War 1. The futility of killing an enemy who is already dead spiritually, and of being killed for a cause that has for all intents and purposes been resolved, is brought home to the viewer with both barrels. The astonishingly fluid camerawork of Fritz Arno puts the spectator in the thick of the battle, and the effect is both terrifying and heartbreaking To watch only a few moments of Westfront 1918, one might think that Pabst had been making sound pictures all his life, rather than a mere couple of months. – by Hal Erickson. Read More »

David Lean – Ryan’s Daughter [Roadshow version] (1970)

Quote:
Set in the wake of the 1916 Easter Rising, a married woman in a small Irish village has an affair with a troubled British officer. Read More »

Rex Ingram – The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921)

Plot Summary:
Madariaga is an Argentinian cattle baron with two daughters: one married a Frenchman, the other a German. Madariaga favors his French grandson, Julio, as his heir, but Julio is a wastrel and rake whose greatest achivement is tangoing well. When Madariaga dies, his fortune is split between his daughters. The German side of the family goes back to Berlin, while the French half moves to Paris, where Julio becomes a painter and falls in love with Marguerite, a married woman. When WWI explodes (and is described by the mystic Tchernoff as the coming Apocalypse), and Marguerite’s husband is blinded, Julio decides he must join the army, and becomes a reformed character. But Death hasn’t finished gathering his harvest yet and Julio must face his own cousin on the battlefield. Read More »

Luigi Comencini – Mio Dio, come sono caduta in basso! AKA My God, how low I’ve fallen! AKA Till Marriage Do Us Part (1974)

At the beginning of the twentieth century the noble and chaste Eugenia (L. Antonelli) and the enriched plebeian Raimondo (O. Lionello), Sicilians, come to learn by telegram on their wedding night to have the same father, but for social propriety, and economic reasons, they decide to play the comedy in front of the world by living in chaste marriage. According to the current morality, he can afford some escapade but the virginal wife, while eager to penetrate the mysteries of the flesh, must restrain herself. It will be the readings of D’Annunzio to dismantle her resistance. Read More »

Abel Gance – J’accuse! (1919)

The Movie
J’Accuse is a story set against the backdrop of World War I that is considered one of the most technically advanced films of the era and the first major pacifist film. Gance, who had served briefly in the military during World War I, decided to return to active service in 1919 in order to film real battle scenes to include in the project. The film was reedited and shortened for peacetime reissue in 1922, and has not been available since in its original form.
Lobster Films Studios, Paris, working in collaboration with Netherlands Filmmuseum have culled materials from the Lobster Collection, the Czech archive in Prague, the Cinematheque Francaise, and the Netherlands Filmmuseum to make the best possible and most complete edition of the original 1919 edit of the film. Read More »