J'accuse (I Accuse That They May Live)
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(1937-France). With VICTOR FRANCEN. Directed and written by ABEL GANCE. As war approached Europe in the mid-1930s with the rise to power of Adolph Hitler in Germany, famed French filmmaker Abel Gance felt the need to make an artistic statement regarding his pacifistic leanings and deeply humanistic concern for the survival of mankind. The end result was this heartfelt, unrelentingly powerful and deeply moving drama. The setting is the First World War which supposedly was "The War To End All Wars." A group of French infantrymen have been chosen by lot to be members of a "death patrol." All are certain to die in battle. A soldier named Jean Diaz volunteers to replace one of the men, who is the father of four children. All eventually are killed, except for Diaz. Ironically, they are fated to be the final casualties of the war. Diaz goes on to be haunted by the memory of his fallen comrades. The battle scenes all are graphically real and utterly shattering. They are loaded with potent symbolism, such as the image of a dead dove sinking to the bottom of some murky, polluted water and a statue of Christ lying lopsided after being destroyed by a bomb. By far the films highlight is the celebrated and visually potent "Return Of The Dead" sequence, among the most famed of its type in motion picture history. Here, the ghosts of the wars deceased victims collectively rise from their graves and march in unison. Many of the extras in this sequence were real-life World War I veterans who had been wounded and scarred in battle. In French with English subtitles. Recommended. 73 minutes.
NOTE: This DVD is published under license from Video Yesteryear - Plain Case - NO ARTWORK
Top customer reviews
There is nothing worse than captializing on an inferior product and this has to be the worst transfer that I have ever purchased.
Hopefully, Criterion or Kino will do something about this and bring forth a restoration worthy of this great film on dvd.
The film itself is masterful and worth every penny; so this is why viewing it in this sad state has motivated me to call upon the original rights holders in an effort to remaster the original French negative (assuming it still exists) and release an official DVD.
In my opinion this 1938 remake is better than the original in terms of execution; with the help of sound and added atmospheric cinematography it taps into nerves the 1919 silent film cannot.
La Fin du Monde; another forgotten Abel Gance film has also yet to see an official DVD release in its original French form.
At some point the studio who owns these films should really consider putting together a box set of Gance's work.
I'm really disappointed, since I paid an amount that isn't cheap for a dvd, and I received the cheapest case ever.
Very bad acquisition for a dvd collection, and very bad impression about the seller.