French film director Abel Gance made outstanding contributions to cinema history through the innovations contained in his films. This film showcase these innovations, which include distorting the image, hand-held camera, dollying and close-up, rapid cutting, multiple superimposition (up to sixteen images at one time), 3D, multiple split screen and Polyvision, a Cinerama prototype using three synchronized cameras. He even lodged a patent for Prospective Sound, which is the basis for what has become stereo sound. His Film “Napoleon” (1927), in particular, is an encyclopaedia of film techniques. “The Charm of Dynamite” uses sequences from “Napoleon” (1927), “La roue (1923) and “J’accuse” (1919) to show the genius of this man. This documentary narrated by Lindsay Anderson and directed by Kevin Brownlow also includes Abel Gance in interview and some amazing behind the scenes footage of the techniques used in making his films. Director and film historian Brownlow would later reconstruct “Napoleon” for a revival premiere in 1980.
How to watch
In ACMI's collection
Black and White
16mm film; Access Print (Section 1)