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J’ACCUSE by French director Abel Gance is a classic anti-war movie. It began production as the First World War was reaching its end and features scenes from the actual front lines (the 28-year-old Gance entered the army in 1917 and was medically discharged, but returned to shoot footage from the Battle of St. Mihiel). This authenticity and especially the “March of the Dead“contributed to the international success of the movie. Thanks to an elaborate restora- tion by the Dutch EYE Film Institute and by Lobster Films, Paris, the movie is now available in an almost complete version. The music by French composer Philippe Schoeller is a complex film symphony for large orchestra and virtual choir. It premiered in Paris, France on November 8, 2014.

A small village in the South of France, just before the First World War. Édith Lazare is torn between two men: She loves Jean Diaz, the poet, but is married to François Laurin, a jealous and violent person. At the beginning of the war, the rivals meet on the front line; Jean serves in the rank of officer, François as a soldier. The chaos of war makes them forget their hostility, and after a short while they become close friends.

Four years later: François returns from the war and is introduced to Angèle, Édith’s three-year- old daughter. Was she conceived as the result of a rape, or is she perhaps Jean and Édith’s lovechild? The poet however claims his innocence and prompts François to head back to the front in order to take revenge for Édith’s humiliation.


Philippe Schoeller (new score)

  large orchestra (from 46 Musicians)    
1+1/picc+alto.2+ca.1+picc(Eb) +1(A)+bcl.2+cbsn - - tmp.5perc - 2hp - pno/cel - str - live electronics