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Napoléon - Vu par Abel Gance
(Napoléon - Vu par Abel Gance)

As an exponent of French aesthetics and as a pioneer referring to the employment of film technique Abel Gance accomplished an artistic show of strength with his film NAPOLÉON.

The film is considered as a culmination of film history and as the greatest film about Napoleon ever. With much enthusiasm Gance intended above all to include the spectators in the events of his monumental piece of work (the duration of the original version was more than nine hours, but it was cut before the first public screenings).

One of Gances most impressive artistic skills is his usage of the camera: In some scenes it is carried, thrown and rapidly moved around. The audience is confronted with unusual and fascinating perspectives.

Abel Gance also created a revolutionary way of screening: Using three simultaneously running cinematographs, the film was projected on a tripartite screen, reminding of a triptych. The suggestive power of the images and the rhythm that inheres in them have not lost their overwhelming and revolutionary capacity through the decades.

This print, restored by film historian Kevin Brownlow from the 1960s until 2000, gets as close to the original as possible. Carl Davis’s score is based on the classical and popular music of Napoleon’s period, drawing in particular on Beethoven and French Revolutionary songs.

From his time as a pupil of the military academy in 1681 over his stay in Paris during the French Revolution, his escape from Corsica and the fall of the Girondists in the National Assembly until the campaign to Italy in 1696 the life of Napoléon is portrayed in fascinating pictures: He is shown as a superman, larger-than-life and determined by the Providence as the saviour of the nation.


Carl Davis

1980 new score
  large orchestra (from 46 Musicians)    
2/pic.2/ca.2(I/bassethorn+cl(A).II/Eflatcl+Bflatcl+cl(A)).2(II/contrabassoon) – 4.2.3(I/atrb).0 – timp./perc.perc(3).organ.hurdy-gurdy – strings(min. Annotation: One additional horn and one additional trumpet are recommendable.
sync fps