“J’accuse” (Nov. 18)

Published: November 16th, 2018

Category: News

A screening of Abel Gance’s classic anti-war film (1919) in commemoration of Armistice Day and the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War.

November 18, 2018, 12:30 PM

Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art

University of Florida

Filmed between August 1918 and March 1919, Abel Gance’s J’accuse (I Accuse) was the first major fiction film about World War I and is widely considered one of the most important anti-war films of world cinema. A romantic melodrama set against the cruel nationalism, battlefield terror, and spiritual exhaustion of the conflict, it is a gripping, unsparing indictment of war’s waste and futility.

The film features numerous technical and editing innovations. Its electrifying final act incorporates real footage shot at the Battle of Saint-Mihiel, September 12–15, 1918. The legendary “return of the dead” sequence features 2000 actual French soldiers then briefly on leave from the Western Front, playing an army of the dead who rise to demand that the living honor their sacrifice. According to Gance, eighty per cent of the men appearing in this sequence were killed in the remaining weeks of the war.

The screening will be preceded by a reception in the Harn Galleria and a brief introduction by Paul Ortíz (Samuel Proctor Oral History Program and Gainesville Veterans for Peace). It will be followed by a discussion with the audience moderated by Terry Harpold (Department of English and the Science Fiction Working Group).

J’accuse (166 mins.) is a silent film with French and English subtitles. Unrated, it is suitable for general audiences. Some scenes of menace and violence may be inappropriate for pre-teen viewers.

This event is free and open to the public. No advance registration is required.

Sponsored by the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art, the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, Veterans for Peace, the Science Fiction Working Group, and the Center for European Studies.


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