Still Watching : Abel Gance’s magnum opus film NAPOLEAN courtesy of the BFI’s 2016 Bluy-ray restoration/release

This is part 2, of an undetermined amount of parts, on Abel Gance’s magnum opus… NAPOLEAN, courtesy of the BFI three disc Blu-ray release.

As stated previously every frame of this film is a painting, but more than that… this was a director at the nascent period of cinema, building a visual vocabulary and creating cinematic techniques, and utilizing them in service of pure storytelling. Everything a movie like LAWRENCE OF ARABIA or AVENGERS ENDGAME or FORCE AWAKENS can give you, is iterations of a pure storytelling framework/mythos that was largely setup here.

The editing and special effects here, and camera movements, and lighting, are still as grand and as impressive, in many respects more impressive, than the 200 million dollar CGI blockbuster productions of today. All the special effects in the world are just tools, and their effectiveness lies in how they are used, to inform and enrich the story. Closing in on a hundred years later and Abel Gance’s NAPOLEAN still looks and feels and connects with an audience, as if 100 years of cinema has failed to truly catch up with this movie.

That’s how great it is. AND BUT FOR THE EFFORT OF A FEW FILM LOVERS aND CONSERVATIONISTS AND RESTORATIONISTS, THIS MOVIE WOULD HAVE REMAINED A LOST FILM.

AND THIS LOSS WOULD HAVE BEEN ALL OF OURS.

BUT THANKS TO FILM FOUNDATIONS AND FILM FANS AND COLLECTORS… THIS FILM HAS BEEN PRESERVED AND RESTORED AND ARGUABLY LOOKS AND READS AND IS SCORED… BETTER THAN IT HAS EVER BEEN.

 

 

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