Paris, 1315. The Tour de Nesle, a guard tower on the banks of the Seine, has become a symbol of mystery and fear. Each morning, at its base, the bodies of handsome young aristocrats are found floating in the river, all butchered by sword or arrow. One evening, two noblemen, Buridan and Philippe d’Aulnay, find themselves in the infamous tower, lured there on the expectation of a night of unbridled passion. Little do they realise that they are to be the next victims of a woman who is determined to take revenge against all men – Margaret of Burgundy, the present Queen of France. Although Philippe is killed, Buridan escapes, and intends to blackmail the Queen. Unless she makes him her prime minister, he will expose her crimes to Philippe’s brother and her husband, King Louis X. When she moves to eliminate Burdan, Margaret makes a terrible discovery… Films de France
Abel Gance was the major figure among directors in 1920s French film, and among the most ambitious visionaries of the silent cinema. Fueled by literary ambitions from childhood, Gance began working as an actor at the age of 19, with the ambition of breaking into playwriting. In 1909, Gance managed to get a job writing movie scenarios for Gaumont and, by 1911, was directing them. None of Gance’s earliest films survive, but his first viewable effort demonstrates that he was already pioneering the use of unusual visual effects. In the short La Folie du Docteur Tube (1915), Gance uses an anamorphic lens to illustrate the story of a mad doctor who uses a ray to twist everyday objects and people out of shape. Gance gained his first good notices from critics with Mater Dolorosa (1917), a genuine tragedy without a “happy ending,” relatively rare in French cinema of the day. With this film, Gance began to use editing and camerawork to project the interior thoughts of his characters.
The… read more