A less difficult task seems to be separating content from form. Both must compliment one another to forge the desired dialogue. In Abel Gance’s Napoléon (1927) the director enshrines France’s legendary Emperor, projecting shameless hagiography. The motif for this is found in gilded rims of light beaming forth from Albert Dieudonné’s raptorial stare. Upholding French revolutionary ideals of equal rights; welding nationalist sentiments and a borderless Europe (such a vision saturates our current geopolitical affairs with a forlorn hue), here is an honourable leader.
Gance himself has accompanied the reconstructed Emperor in this blinding realm, matching Napoléon’s innovations with history’s grandiosity. A technical triumph rusted by megalomania and the unruly patriot game?