Abel Gance (Dictionary of World Biography: Twentieth Century)
Article abstract: Gance was the first French filmmaker to recognize and realize the full spectacular effect of the cinema, by means of new techniques of editing and montage and by inventions that advanced the art and scope of the cinema.
Abel Gance was born in Paris on October 25, 1889, the son of Adolphe and Françoise Perthon Gance, and was educated first at the Collège du Chantilly and later at the Collège Chaptal in Paris. At the age of eighteen, he became an actor at the Théâtre du Parc in Brussels, then a playwright. By 1909, he had made his debut as a film actor in Léonce Perret’s Molière and was selling scenarios to Gaumont. In between he was afflicted with tuberculosis, from which he eventually recovered.
Very early, Gance became involved with a group of artists and critics who believed that cinema was an important means of artistic expression, not merely a form of bastardized melodrama and commercial entertainment. His circle of friends included the art historian Élie Faure, the cineast and critic Jean Epstein, and the journalist and editor Ricciotto Canudo, who founded Montjoie in 1913 as a journal of “French cultural imperialism,” and in 1922 the Gazette des Sept Arts, behind which stood the Friends of the Seventh Art, a group of poets, painters, architects, musicians, and filmmakers.
Gance was particularly influenced by Canudo and...
(The entire section is 2211 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!