Abel Gance's Napoleon comes to the Croisette

Abel Gance's Napoleon comes to the Croisette

This year, it is this colossal work, “a legend known to film buffs around the world,” which will open Cannes Classics.

After the press conference on Thursday April 11, the 77th edition of the Cannes gathering is revealed little by little. While we have just learned that Studios Ghibli will receive the Palme d'Honneur next May, the festival is making another major announcement for French heritage: Napoleon seen by Abel Gance will be the pre-opening of the festival and the opening of the Cannes Classics selection.

In an Instagram post announcing the news, the festival wrote:

“Napoleon seen by Abel Gance (1st period) at the opening of Cannes Classics at the 77th Cannes Film Festival

A legend known to film buffs around the world, Napoleon seen by Abel Gance is one of the most important silent films and one of the most monumental reconstructions in the history of cinema. La Première Époque will be screened on May 14 as a world premiere at #Cannes2024, in a version resulting from colossal and passionate work, carried out by the Cinémathèque française with the support of the CNC.”

George Mourierresponsible for its restoration, describes the film as a “monster”. A monster of work, because it took the teams at the Cinémathèque and the CNC sixteen years to produce this version. A monster of cinema history too, because this seven-hour summation film is a compendium of innovative techniques, but also the testament of an era. From that of Abel Gance, genius behind horse-mounted cameras, or the triptych split screen, of course, but also from ours:

“We first had to defragment a film exploded like a puzzle across the world and homogenize the textures because there is no longer a negative. We were groping forward, waiting for certain technical advances to make this work possible,” reports the CNC.

The Cannes Film Festival will not screen “that” there “First era” of Napoleon ofAbel Gance, lasting 3 hours 40 minutes. An event when we know that “Large Version” hasn't been shown for almost a hundred years.

The film will be screened in its entirety on July 4 and 5 at the Seine Musicale in Paris.

Abel Gance's Napoleon finally revealed in a restored version!

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