- 1. Abel Gance
Author and Director
- 2. Romuald Joubé of the Odéon Theatre
- 3. as Jean Diaz
- 4. Maxime Desjardins
- 5. of the Comédie Française
- 6. as Maria Lazare
- 7. M. Séverin-Mars as François Laurin
- 8. Little Angèle Guys as Angèle
- 9. Marise Dauvray as Edith Laurin
- 10. In those days, the people of France
still knew the meaning of joy...
- 11. A festive night in Provence
- 12. One bright morning
- 13. I came across the train
- 14. With three wise men
- 15. Setting off on a journey...
- 16. Jean Diaz, the poet,
- 17. all intelligence, all melancholy,
- 18. all tenderness, all France.
- 19. His dear mother.
- 20. Edith is a married woman.
Stop thinking of the past.
- 21. An owl on a midsummer's night,
soon calamity will be in sight.
- 22. Maria Lazare, Edith's father,
veteran of the war of 1870,
- 23. straight and simple
as a sword blade...
- 24. Go to bed!
- 25. What Jean was writing:
- 26. Mother, let me read you
the latest poem in my "Pacifiques":
- 27. Ode to the Sun.
- 28. In the meantime, the drunken brute...
- 29. And under the golden circle
of his lamp,
- 30. Jean Diaz wrote his verses of light
- 31. while the happy village slept.
- 32. Tragedy almost seemed to hang
from the tips of the branches...
- 33. This gash on your neck!
- 34. He did it, didn't he?
- 35. Run along!
- 36. One day, when happiness
shone on the village...
- 37. SUNDAY, AUGUST 2, 1914
- 38. It's war!
- 39. What's war?
- 40. I don't know.
- 41. Long live France!
- 42. At last!
- 43. IN THE EVENT OF MOBILIZATION,
- 44. Private Jean Diaz,
the bearer of the present order,
- 45. is to report for active service
on the 40th day of mobilization.
- 46. Go ask Jean Diaz,
on behalf of Madam Edith,
- 47. if he's being mobilized tomorrow
along with his comrades.
- 48. I'm leaving tomorrow, dearest Edith.
- 49. Give François your hand.
- 50. M. Jean doesn't leave
for another month...
- 51. In every household of the village,
- 52. the humble tragedy of departure
played out in poignant detail.
- 53. Evening.
- 54. A few days later, he obtained
permission from his superiors
- 55. to make a two-hour stopover
- 56. as his company was to report
to a nearby station...
- 57. Dear Edith,
I must see you again.
- 58. I love you.
Your Jean Diaz.
- 59. You could be court-martialed
- 60. To M. Jean Laurin
Lake Road, Waldheim
- 61. My dear parents,
- 62. My wife, whose conduct
has not been irreproachable,
- 63. is taking the train today
to come to stay with you.
- 64. Watch over her.
- 65. When I return to civilian life,
I will take her back.
- 66. Your son, François.
- 67. She's gone!
- 68. François did not know what fear was.
- 69. Meanwhile, on the home front,
- 70. the veterans were winning
- 71. BRUTALLY ABDUCTED ALIVE,
- 72. AFTER RECENT ENEMY ADVANCE.
- 73. The news of Edith's abduction
spread rapidly through the village.
- 74. Tell me, Monsieur,
is it true they abducted her?
- 75. Can I avenge her?
- 76. I request transfer to active service.
- 77. Edith has vanished.
I have no more reason to stay.
- 78. I'm off to the front lines.
- 79. My dear François,
- 80. Be brave.
- 81. Edith was taken prisoner
during an enemy advance.
- 82. It's all nonsense,
my dear Father-in-Law.
- 83. She sent you that telegram
to be free to join Jean,
- 84. who's lying low somewhere.
- 85. Edith, Jean and his mother
- 86. are the three scoundrels
behind this charade.
- 87. What a spot to write letters!
- 88. Want to get yourself killed,
- 89. It's all nonsense,
my dear Father-in-Law.
- 90. She sent you that telegram
to be free to join Jean,
- 91. who's lying low somewhere.
- 92. Edith, Jean and his mother
- 93. are the three scoundrels
behind this charade.
- 94. Jean?
- 95. But he's been at Officers'
Training School in Valréas
- 96. for the past two months.
- 97. When the guns fall silent.
- 98. You blubberin'
because your missus doesn't write?
- 99. Don't worry, you good-for-nothing...
- 100. You see, my wife ran off
with a young shirker...
- 101. Our new lieutenant.
- 102. Back home, to celebrate
- 103. Nomination at the Officers'
Training School of Valréas
- 104. Number 1: Jean Diaz of Orneval
- 105. My dear Father-in-Law,
- 106. I can't ask this new officer
for news of my wife,
- 107. but I'm certain he knows something.
- 108. Try to find out something
from his mother
- 109. and write back to me quickly.
- 110. Dear Mother, I have to find out
what happened to Edith,
- 111. but I can't ask François.
- 112. Ask Lazare if he knows anything
- 113. and write back to me quickly.
- 114. Wireless reports
an enemy munitions depot
- 115. within reach of Hill 33.
- 116. Send your bravest man,
- 117. out on a reconnaissance mission
- 118. He has little chance of coming back.
- 119. Jean began to realize he wasn't
the only one who loved Edith...
- 120. Jean's sacrifice.
- 121. Is François back from his mission?
- 122. You deserve the Legion of Honor
for your exploits
- 123. and the guardhouse for risking
your life instead of François,
- 124. whom I had appointed.
- 125. Coffee's ready!
- 126. Jean, tell me...
Have you had any news from Edith?
- 127. And you, M. Laurin, have you?
- 128. Will you forgive me, M. Laurin,
for having loved her as much as you?
- 129. Stop being so formal
if you want me to answer you...
- 130. Will you forgive me, François?
- 131. We'll talk about her often,
won't we, Jean?
- 132. Pipe down, guys.
They're both cryin'. What dopes!
- 133. The veteran piously framed
- 134. the glorious lieutenant's
Legion of Honor
- 135. as the two old people's hearts
- 136. We're out of ammo!
- 137. So what if we are!
- 138. Do you remember when she...
- 139. You have to understand that there
will always be beauty on this earth
- 140. and that man will never be cruel
enough to destroy it.
- 141. "Letters from a soldier"
- 142. J'ACCUSE by Abel Gance
- 143. Four years later,
the war is at its height.
- 144. The blue devils are now
only gray, mud-clotted forms.
- 145. The cannon squat
or lie monstrously sprawled,
- 146. the eternal spirit of Evil hovers
over this battle to save the world.
- 147. My fifth blackout in a week...
It's the fatigue.
- 148. Dear Father-in-Law, tell Madame Diaz
to write to her son
- 149. and tell him to report
to the Discharge Review Board,
- 150. as the doctors advised him.
- 151. His health is in jeopardy.
- 152. He could die if...
- 153. I thought I saw an owl there...
It's the fever...
- 154. Dear Father-in-Law, tell Madame Diaz
to write to her son
- 155. and tell him to report
to the Discharge Review Board,
- 156. as the doctors advised him.
- 157. His health is in jeopardy.
- 158. He could die if...
- 159. My dear François,
tell Jean his mother is gravely ill.
- 160. That might persuade him
to request a discharge.
- 161. I'm writing this in secret
because she doesn't want him
- 162. to leave France for her,
as she courageously puts it.
- 163. What his health couldn't accomplish,
his filial feeling did.
- 164. Jean, discharged, returned home.
- 165. Go to bed.
I'm feeling better tonight.
- 166. Well, Mama...
- 167. My dear Jean! My little boy!
- 168. How you've changed!
You're sick too, aren't you?
- 169. I'm just very weary.
- 170. All I want is to go to sleep listening
- 171. to you read one of your poems
the way you used to.
- 172. My poem about the ploughmen?
- 173. The one about silence?
- 174. The Ode to the Sun?
- 175. And, as he had done
four years earlier...
- 176. Dead!
- 177. At that point in the poem
when she had fallen asleep
- 178. the night of the festivities.
- 179. So she could take to her grave
his stanzas of light,
- 180. he sought to finish his ode.
- 181. But all he found
was the sadness of the twilight
- 182. haunted by Edith's gentle spirit.
- 183. War kills as much the mothers
as the sons.
- 184. I accuse!
- 185. It rained that night...
- 186. DEAR PAPA,
COME TO JEAN DIAZ'S TONIGHT.
- 187. I'LL BE THERE.
- 188. Mother Diaz!
- 189. Death leaves through one door,
as life enters through another!
- 190. DEAR PAPA,
COME TO JEAN DIAZ'S TONIGHT.
- 191. I'LL BE THERE.
- 192. If she came back!
- 193. What's this?
- 194. When enemy troops
occupied the village,
- 195. I hid in the barn,
but the soldiers found me...
- 196. There were several of them...
- 197. Wouldn't François
kill her if he saw her?
- 198. I knew that he wasn't around,
- 199. and I thought that Madame Diaz
would protect my child later...
- 200. Isn't that so, Jean?
- 201. My father's sudden departure
- 202. He has such a violent nature.
- 203. I'm going home. I'll be back later.
- 204. My dear child,
Honor is an old tradition among us.
- 205. I will try to avenge
this indelible affront.
- 206. In any case, I could never stand
that child's presence.
- 207. Jean will help you bear your pain.
- 208. Farewell. Maria Lazare.
- 209. If you leave like my father has,
who will protect my daughter?
- 210. François must never find out.
- 211. If he does,
I just know he'll kill her.
- 212. I'll teach you how to become French.
- 213. Then you can find your own way
to punish your father as he deserves.
- 214. How he loves me,
- 215. to make my tragedy
more important than his own.
- 216. The first French lesson.
- 217. Have come home.
- 218. Notify me of your next leave.
- 219. Affectionately, Edith.
- 220. Hey, cook! Prepare us
something special for tomorrow!
- 221. My wife's come back!
- 222. Unwitting courage.
- 223. They knew their luck would change...
- 224. She... She must have gone out
for a walk...
- 225. Why are those old hags
- 226. looking at me
with such sorry expressions?
- 227. He left... the night Edith came home.
- 228. We haven't heard from him since.
- 229. She's not here, François!
- 230. A distant relative left
little Angèle... with me...
- 231. I'm looking
after her until... until...
- 232. Someone's crying!
- 233. I'm telling you, François
there is no one there!
- 234. After four years of sacrifice,
a brute can become a man,
- 235. a man like Jean Diaz perhaps.
- 236. And François suffered in silence
because Edith hadn't noticed.
- 237. Chance does not like secrets.
- 238. You kissed a child just now.
- 239. Yes, little Angèle...
- 240. A distant relative left her
with Jean Diaz...
- 241. Any harm in that?
- 242. No harm, but... the neighbors talk.
- 243. They say you come
to kiss her every day.
- 244. That bothers me a little...
- 245. My poor Edith, thank you.
- 246. I didn't know, you see.
- 247. My heart is so possessed.
- 248. Velvet-clawed misfortune
- 249. and one day...
- 250. Oh, I forgot to tell you.
There's been quite a tragedy here.
- 251. Little Angèle, the child you kissed
the other day with Jean...
- 252. Ah! Well, she was playing near
the river, fell in, and drowned...
- 253. Is this true?
- 254. Admit it, you shameful woman.
That was your child.
- 255. Dead! Dead!
Yes, she's dead!
- 256. Dead! Oh, she's dead!
- 257. Protect me!
François knows I'm her mother.
- 258. He's coming. Protect me!
- 259. You weren't a prisoner. You lied.
- 260. You went into hiding after you sinned,
and he went to see you on leave.
- 261. Admit it, you wretches,
or prove your innocence!
- 262. Is your silence formal proof
that you're the child's father?
- 263. She's my daughter!
- 264. Let go of Jean.
Don't kill him!
- 265. Can you prove it?
- 266. You're right, Jean, I mustn't.
- 267. I'll leave as soon as I can
so as not to commit a crime.
- 268. There are others I have to kill
in exchange for her life!
- 269. Leave was almost up.
- 270. Jean... It hurts too much to leave,
knowing you're here near her.
- 271. You're not to blame, I know,
but you have to understand,
- 272. my heart is bursting!
- 273. I can't go and live with this anxiety.
Help me find a way out.
- 274. Sir, former officer
discharged for health reasons,
- 275. I now request permission
to return to active duty
- 276. in my old company
with the rank of Private 2nd Class
- 277. under the orders
of Sergeant François Laurin.
- 278. Departure.
- 279. We have to finish this war.
- 280. Go ahead, kiss each other!
- 281. End of Part Two
- 282. J'ACCUSE by Abel Gance
- 283. Hearing the call
of the dispenser of justice,
- 284. hearts united suddenly,
- 285. and poor mud-caked bodies
moved toward him like tanks.
- 286. He knew how to speak to them,
- 287. with visionary images
that roused energy
- 288. and made them
clutch their rifles harder.
- 289. Beside every Frenchman
there is always a Gaul.
- 290. I accuse those who are asleep...
- 291. Hang on a bit longer, fellows...
Victory is here...
- 292. In front of you,
with its wings spread.
- 293. The Gaul told me so.
- 294. Come on, men.
The Gaul is with us.
- 295. And the visionary told them
many other things.
- 296. Profound and painful things,
- 297. which mustn't emerge
from the mud through images,
- 298. because the eyes are still too far
from the heart to truly understand.
- 299. And back there!
- 300. However her heart swayed,
- 301. François's wife, Jean's lover,
Maria Lazare's daughter,
- 302. Angèle's mother.
- 303. The cross of sacrifice, epitomizing
the French woman's agony.
- 304. Strike again, o Sorrow,
if you find room!
- 305. Lamartine
- 306. The morning of battle.
- 307. The battalion is doomed, they know.
- 308. They say nothing
but re-read the last letter.
- 309. The weather is mild
and the morning indifferent.
- 310. The dead won't hold back the spring.
- 311. If these letters reach anyone,
may they instill in the honest heart
- 312. a horror of the infamy
of those responsible for this war.
- 313. Dearest darling mother,
I desire nothing more for myself.
- 314. When the hardships are truly cruel,
- 315. I'm content to be very unhappy
without thinking of other things.
- 316. My dear darling Mama,
- 317. If you receive no more letters
from me after this one,
- 318. tell yourself that your son
has left this world
- 319. for a country without postmen,
- 320. but that still he thinks
of you night and day.
- 321. Jean, fearing the worst,
- 322. had prepared
a series of letters for Edith,
- 323. pre-dated with the months to come,
- 324. so that she would remain ignorant
as long as possible...
- 325. My dear Edith
- 326. If I'm killed, look after the child
and Edith. You're the one she loves.
- 327. Don't say a word! Is that clear?
- 328. Swear to me, Jean.
- 329. Raise the child. It's your duty.
- 330. I would have killed her!
- 331. What about you, Jean?
- 332. Do you have anything to say
if you get killed?
- 333. No, no. Nothing to say...
- 334. I know you love her as much as I do.
- 335. The attack on the St. Mihel sector
- 336. with the collaboration
of French and American troops,
- 337. in particular the U.S. 28th Division,
- 338. in the villages of Hattonchatel,
Seicheprey and Mosec.
- 339. If I fall in battle, send one letter
per month, in order.
- 340. It's so she doesn't know I'm dead,
- 341. Promise, Mathieu?
- 342. So it's clear, Mathieu,
not a word to François!
- 343. You'll send these letters to Edith.
- 344. She mustn't die, as well.
- 345. Above all,
don't say a thing to François,
- 346. not one word.
- 347. Hey! Stretcher-bearers!
Evacuate Jean, he's gone mad!
- 348. Get up, you dead bodies!
- 349. Until the last one!
- 350. I accuse!
- 351. After the taking of the village.
- 352. After the battle.
- 353. And as his life ebbed,
- 354. his feverish last thoughts
were for his dear Edith,
- 355. whom he had loved so much
without her knowing it,
- 356. and who at that moment
may have been laughing
- 357. in the gentle light of Provence.
- 358. And as in the old days,
- 359. François would have liked to say
good-bye to his dear old dog.
- 360. Who should be notified
about your condition?
- 361. Post these, once a month,
without a return address.
- 362. One morning at Orneval.
- 363. My beloved, I am doing well.
- 364. Don't worry yourself if you
don't receive a swift reply.
- 365. I'll be home soon.
- 366. I've been given a secret
and a difficult mission:
- 367. I need to know how the morale
is in the country.
- 368. What about Pierre,
the blacksmith's son?
- 369. And Jenny, the laundress?
- 370. That evening,
- 371. Jean Diaz took a strange stroll
throughout the village.
- 372. The Great Evening.
- 373. Edith anxiously tried to understand
- 374. Jean's strange, feverish behavior
since his return.
- 375. And where is François?
What is he doing?
- 376. I haven't received a letter from him
in a month.
- 377. Nightmares... dreams... life... war...
- 378. The dead... And the living.
I don't know anymore! I accuse!
- 379. Come to Edith Laurin's home
at 10 p.m.
- 380. for news of your dead.
— I accuse
- 381. Yes, I called you here.
Come in! Come in!
- 382. That night, I was on guard duty
on the battlefield.
- 383. All your dead were there...
All your dearly departed. All of them!
- 384. Then an extraordinary miracle
- 385. One of the dead...
- 386. Friends, the time
has come to find out
- 387. if our death has done any good!
- 388. Let us go home to see if they
are worthy of our sacrifice. Awaken!
- 389. And the dead obeyed!
- 390. They obeyed, I tell you!
- 391. MY FRIENDS,
- 392. RISE UP! RISE UP!
- 393. They had soiled faces
and eye-sockets full of stars.
- 394. They came in rising waves
from across the horizon.
- 395. While the living marched
to the music.
- 396. The unknown dead...
All the dead...
- 397. The famous dead marched as well...
- 398. I fled this innumerable flock.
I'm here to warn you.
- 399. They're coming.
- 400. They will gladly go back to sleep
- 401. if their sacrifice and death
have served some purpose.
- 402. The diaphanous and fantastically
- 403. All the dead were on their way,
- 404. and the gentle road
grew transparent beneath their feet.
- 405. Stop! You won't leave
before you've heard me out.
- 406. If you've been faithful to your dead,
you have nothing to fear.
- 407. You, Amelie!
Your husband died for you, too!
- 408. How did you behave
during his absence?
- 409. I accuse!
- 410. And you, Pierre...
- 411. Did you run your father's business
as you should have?
- 412. I accuse!
- 413. And you, Berthe! You, Lucile!
- 414. You profited like cowards
- 415. from the deaths of your husbands,
brothers and children! I accuse!
- 416. And you, Darmont,
- 417. you all greedily profited
from the bloodshed shamelessly
- 418. to line your pockets!
- 419. When the north wind
blows at night,
- 420. can't you hear the millions of
death rattles: "I accuse! I accuse!"
- 421. When fate strikes down the good,
it is not being unjust.
- 422. The bad who survive
will only be better for it.
- 423. May a good flame raise you up
- 424. And rather than weep
That I have lost the day
- 425. Think that one never dies
When he dies in this way
- 426. — Pierre Corneille
- 427. These great dead said many things
more in the moonlight,
- 428. mysterious words of the future
- 429. that the living didn't understand,
but which were soothing.
- 430. Don't pain them by calling them.
Let them go.
- 431. They are begging you
to preserve your courage!
- 432. They were glad to see you again.
- 433. They're going back
to their peaceful sleep,
- 434. knowing that you've all been
worthy of their death...
- 435. They again took up their crosses,
which now became lighter.
- 436. Was it all a dream?
Some incredible suggestion?
- 437. What possessed us?
- 438. And the child, in turn,
- 439. taught the poet again
to write the word of his life.
- 440. He's mad!
- 441. The next day.
- 442. The soldier in him
had killed the poet.
- 443. He laughed at this lunatic
- 444. who once had written poems
about sunlight, peace
- 445. and the sweetness of living.
- 446. Ode to the Sun.
- 447. Hear me, O Sun, ere I be laid
- 448. Amid the dead
My debt to thee unpaid
- 449. Thee I accuse
For all the grandeur of thy day
- 450. Abomination has thou clothed
In robes of light
- 451. Passing unmoved
On they Celestial way
- 452. Nor horror trembling at thy might
- 453. In death I curse thee
King of Dreadful Night
- 454. A poet there was
Festoons and astragals
- 455. In my face
His laughing spirit shone
- 456. Soldier I came home
In effigy supernatural
- 457. From my grave I cried
- 458. Pushing back the stone
As if the earth itself did groan
- 459. Hear me in the name
Of those your splendor misled
- 460. Are you frightened?
You blush bright red
- 461. Jean Diaz I was
But I have a new muse
- 462. My name, once sweet
Is now "I accuse!"
- 463. And I accuse you instead
- 464. You cast your light
On a frightful bout
- 465. Silent, placid world
- 466. Like a horrible visage
Tongue ripped out
- 467. Sadistic, from your azure balcony
You watched till the final rout
- 468. THE END