Louis Feuillade: A Sampling of a Master

February 6–October 15, 2005

MoMA

Louis Feuillade (1874–1925), a French filmmaker who wrote and directed approximately 800 shorts, features, and serials in his 18-year career, was a pioneer of narrative film. Together with his contemporary in America, D.W. Griffith, Feuillade developed a language for the modern art of the moving image. Feuillade’s cinema transcended the conventions of the proscenium stage; he exchanged theatrical artifice for both realism and the freedom of open-air shooting. As a journalist, he recognized cinema’s potential for storytelling and reportage. In 1905, he met Alice Guy, head of production at Gaumont. Within a year, he became Gaumont’s principal director. In addition to short social dramas, chase films, comedies, and popular series with the precocious child characters Bébé and Bout de Zan, he made mysteries that later evolved into fantastic serials like Fantômas (1913), Les Vampires (1915), Judex (1917), and Tih Minh (1919); shot on locations throughout France, they thrilled the Surrealists with their sense of menace and ibrace of modern technology. The exhibition opens in February with four programs of shorts and feature films, and continues through June with four serials, shown one per month.

Organized by Laurence Kardish, Senior Curator, Department of Film and Media. All films restored by the Gaumont Pathé Archives in collaboration with either the Cinémathèque Française or the Archives Françaises du Film du CNC.

Thanks to Martine Offroy, President, and Agnès Bertola, Curator, Gaumont Pathé Archives.

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