J'Accuse! (I Accuse) (1919)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

J'Accuse! (I Accuse) Photos

Movie Info

France's innovative film pioneer Abel Gance had already served briefly in World War I, but he enlisted again so he could film hair-raising footage of soldiers under fire. He used the shots in this compelling anti-war epic, which originally ran 14 reels (it was cut down to ten for release in the U.S., which unfortunately damaged its continuity). Marie Lazare (Marise Dauvray) is forced by her father (Maxime des Jardins) to marry the much-older Francois Laurin (Severin-Mars), even though she's in love with Jean Diaz, a poet (Romuald Joube). The jealous Laurin goes wild at the idea that his young wife may have betrayed him. When the World War breaks out, he goes to the front. Diaz, a pacifist, stays home until Marie is captured by the Germans. Then he enlists and winds up being in command over Laurin. Over the course of four years, the two men become friends. Diaz gets trench fever and is sent home. Marie returns with a baby -- she was raped by several of her captors and does not know which one is the baby's father. When Laurin comes home, he mistakenly believes that the child is Diaz's. After he is convinced he was wrong, he goes back to his regiment, and is killed in the fighting. Diaz also returns to battle and is wounded. He comes home, but he has lost his mind. He has a vision in which the dead return from their graves to see if their loved ones are worthy of their sacrifice. He dies, leaving Marie alone with her child. Gance would create a masterful remake of this film in 1937. ~ Janiss Garza, Rovi
Art House & International , Drama
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Critic Reviews for J'Accuse! (I Accuse)

All Critics (5)

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | October 17, 2008
Time Out
Top Critic

The cinematic sophistication and visual expressiveness of this 1919 release is astonishing.

Full Review… | March 18, 2012
Parallax View

The epic drama is angry and tender and horrifying and touching, all of it conveyed by [Abel Gance's] powerful and delicate imagery and sophisticated techniques.

Full Review… | October 23, 2008
Turner Classic Movies Online

Our jingoistic era might do well to revisit Gance's compassionate visions.

Full Review… | October 23, 2008
Slant Magazine

Fertile to a fault.

Full Review… | October 23, 2008
Slant Magazine

It may not be subtle, or realistic filmmaking, but as far as visual poetry goes, it's extraordinary.

Full Review… | October 2, 2008
Combustible Celluloid

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