According to their own view, each of the directors of the period uses filmic expression to create experiences that lead viewers to experience different sensations and emotions, taking the feeling beyond the screen. A visit to makes you watch their movies.

The career

Abel Gance began his activities in 1911 and, together with L’Herbier, is the first filmmaker of the “first wave” of French cinema. In 1918, he released The Tenth Symphony, considered the first impressionist film and was a success. His main productions, considered highly ambitious projects, are The Wheel, whose accelerated editing influenced other filmmakers, mainly Soviet cinema, and whose overlapping images and the use of masks influenced all French cinema of the period; and Napoleon, an epic that tells the story of the French emperor since his childhood and was considered by critics to be exaggerated and in bad taste. In 1919 he created Abel Gance Films, financially dependent on Pathé until 1924.

  • Marcel L’Herbier, for his part, was unsuccessful in his first film, Rosa França (1918) the second impressionist film in history but would have it with later El Dorado, The Inhumane and The Deceased Mathias Pascal. In the first, he worked very well on the film’s photography, using many impressionistic stylistic techniques, as well as in The Inhuman, which was only successful later. Already with The Deceased Mathias Pascal , the success was huge, in which the contrast of light and dark was used, anticipating features of film noir . In 1923, after complications with Gaumont, they created the Cinégraphic.

Germaine Dulac, a journalist, began her film work in 1916. One of her most recognizable works is The Smiling Madame Beudet, in which she abused distortions, double exposures, slow motion and dissolutions to show the psychological drama of the main character in the film it is considered the first feminist work of cinema.

Jean Epstein was the one who started working with the film later compared to the others. His major works were The Red Hostel (1923), Faithful Heart (1923), and The Fall of Usher’s House. In Faithful Heart, he makes use of the accelerated assembly, influenced by Glance; in The Fall of Usher’s House, he works the scenery and the lighting, having Salvador Dali as his assistant and can be compared to German Expressionism. In the year 1926, he founded the “Jean Epstein Films”.

Louis Delluc was editor-in-chief of the Le Film journal in 1917, where he emphasized the activity of directors and screenwriters. Later, in 1920, he founded the “Le Journal du Ciné-Club”, stressing the importance of film clubs, and the following year he directed the magazine “Cinéa”, in which he publicized the new French trends, sought to conquer the public of the highest strata of society and defended cinema as art. He is considered the inventor of film criticism and who applied the concept of photogenic. He analyzed films as a whole and advocated the creation and innovation of French cinema, without parodies or copies of foreign films. The works that mark its heyday are Murder in Marseille, The Exile and The Flood. The opposition between the plans in the former was widely used in his films.