Léon Poirier

F.: Georges Million, René Batton; M.: Raymond Lamy; Ass. R.: Thomy Bourdelle; Int.: Jeanne Marie-Laurent (la madre), Suzanne Bianchetti (la moglie), Albert Préjean (il soldato francese), Hans Brausewetter (il soldato tedesco), Thomy Bourdelle (l’ufficiale tedesco), Maurice Schutz (il vecchio maresciallo), Pierre Nay (il figlio), Jean Dehelly (il giovane soldato), Daniel Mendaille (il marito), Antonin Artaud (l’intellettuale), André Nox (il cappellano militare), José Davért (il vecchio contadino), Berthe Jalabert 35mm. L.: 1822 m. D.: 89’ a 18 f/s. Bn.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

After some hesitation I decided, for commercial reasons, to add sound to Verdun, visions d’histoire which I had shot as a silent film in 1927. In my opinion the result was not satisfactory. The silent film, which portrayed the battle and evoked its psychological, human and domestic repercussions, became a ruthlessly arid documentary. I was forced to remove all the symbolic characters (the Mother, the Son, the Husband, the Bride, the Farmer) that broadened the battle and transformed it into tragedy, because I refused to give a real voice to symbols.

In brief, the collective, heroic and painful soul that I had tried to evoke from the courageous suffering of the combatants had completely materialized. (…) Between the silent Verdun and the “noisy” Verdun there was the same difference as there is between a painting and a photograph: the first suggests, the second reproduces. (…) I have seen tears shed during screenings of the silent Verdun, visions d’histoire and never did a mother cry when watch- ing the sound version of Verdun, visions d’histoire. The illusion had been destroyed with cannon shots.

Léon Poirier, 24 images à la seconde, Mame, 1953


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