Film
NAPOLEON
, Dir.
NAPOLEON

A film beyond words. And pretty much impossible to see in its true form, so sorry. Abel Gance's 1927 cinematic masterpiece is an epic in every possible sense. Covering the life of the French Emperor from childhood through the French Revolution to his first successful military campaign, the film is six hours long and climaxes in a breathtaking display of magnificent bravura when the screen expands to triple size to present a masterfully composed and edited triptych of images. Utilizing radical camerawork and montage methods that were light years beyond his contemporaries, Gance's entire film sings with forceful rhythms and grand themes. A significantly truncated version exists on VHS, but to see this entire wonder projected properly and accompanied by a full symphonic orchestra is a genuinely transformative experience. A titanic work of art that deserves to be considered along side things like Michaelangelo's David or Picasso's Guernica. No joke, it's that monumental. (Tommy Swenson)

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