Abel Gance  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Abel Gance (October 25, 1889 - November 10, 1981) was a French film director, producer, writer, actor and editor best remembered for his work in silent film.

Napoléon (1927) is among his most innovative works. The final reel of the film, made in a process Gance called Polyvision, used three film strips filmed by three cameras, and shown side by side, tripling the aspect ratio to show a staggering panorama of a battlefield. At the very end of the film, the outer two film panels were tinted blue and red, creating a widescreen image of a French flag.

He resumed his film making career in 1960 with historical dramas such as Austerlitz. He died in 1981 of tuberculosis in Paris. He did, however, live to see the triumphant reception of the restored version of his silent epic Napoléon in 1980, and the accompanying restoration of his reputation as a pioneering filmmaker.


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