The German troops are at the gates of La Meuse. The alert is given. The French soldier calmly awaits the shock. All the villages are evacuated, the wife is torn from the husband who remains to defend the land that the old peasant refuses to leave. The German assault occurred on February 21, 1916. Preceded by an unprecedented bombardment which lasted from 7:15 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., the German waves rushed into the Bois des Caures. But the 1800 hunters of Lieutenant-Colonel Driant are at their post. Rifles and machine guns sow death in the ranks of the Germans who advance in tight battalions, thinking to advance the weapon at the ramp...
"A monumental film on this terrible moment of the 14-18 war that was the battle of Verdun. » RELEASE
“An impressive historical fresco” LES CAHIERS DU CINÉMA
Filmed on the site of the battle, in the silent trenches for barely ten years, Verdun, visions of History is a unique and extraordinary testimony to realism and accuracy.
ANONYMOUS DESTINIES INCLUDED IN GREAT HISTORY In order to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Armistice, Léon Poirier reconstructs the battle of Verdun and inscribes in the Great History the destiny of symbolic characters chosen on both sides of the front. Throughout the scenes, anonymous people (the German officer, the French soldier, the mother, etc.) come across real figures from Verdun such as Colonel Driant and General Pétain. Edited in three distinct parts (La Force, L'Enfer and Le Destin), Verdun, visions d'Histoire is an epic film, of great emotional force and dedicated to "all the martyrs of the most dreadful of human passions, war ".
AN UNPRECEDENTED RESTORATION FOR A FILM PLACE OF MEMORY In order to facilitate the distribution of Verdun, visions of History in theaters, the original 2h30 version had been truncated when it was released in 1928 and no longer existed in France. Thanks to the Moscow Gosfilmofond, the Cinémathèque de Toulouse has managed to find a full copy of the film. She then initiated a process of restoring this copy, which was entrusted to the Immagine Ritrovata laboratory in Bologna. This work now makes it possible to once again offer the original version of Léon Poirier's film in unprecedented quality.
A UNIQUE MUSICAL ACCOMPANIMENT Verdun, visions d'Histoire being a silent film, it was initially shown accompanied by a musical score composed by André Petiot in 1928. It was this original orchestral accompaniment that was played during the film's premiere at the Opéra Garnier November 8, 1928. Subsequently reduced to a score for piano, the original work was found by the Cinémathèque de Toulouse at the National Library of France illustrated with all the intertitles of the film, which made it possible to verify that the copy to be restored was complete. In order to respect the work of Léon Poirier, the piano version of the original accompaniment has been chosen for this DVD edition and is performed by Hakim Bentchouala-Golobitch. Born in Algiers, this pianist, winner of numerous international competitions, specializes in French and contemporary music. Since playing the original score for Louis Feuillade's film Judex, Hakim Bentchouala Golobitch has composed and interpreted the music for numerous silent films such as Safety Last with Harold Loyd and Gribiche by Jacques Feyder.
VERDUN, VISIONS OF HISTORY (1928 – B&W – 151 mins) SUPPLEMENTS . RESTORE VERDUN (13 mins) From La Cinémathèque de Toulouse to that of Bologna, unpublished interviews on the way in which the process of researching elements and restoring Léon Poirier's film was approached.
. VISIONS OF VERDUN (16 mins) A return to Verdun, visions of History through interviews with many specialists, each of whom testifying to a unique vision of Léon Poirier's work, whether historical, technical, musicological or anecdotal. . THE REVENGE OF THE FRENCH IN FRONT OF VERDUN (29 mn) An account of the French counter-offensive in the fall of 1916, edited by the Army Cinematographic Section from archive footage.