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Cinema in the Cathedral: J’Accuse (1919)

Two men who love the same woman - one her husband, one her lover - meet in the trenches of World War One.
Their story becomes a microcosm for the horrors of war, in this silent film classic with live organ accompaniment.

Abel Gance's epic war film, J'Accuse, turns 99 this year. Released in 1919, the film includes real battlefields of the first world war on screen, and depicts the very real tragedy and horror of war. 

The 'return of the dead' sequence at the end of the film was shot in the south of France, using 2,000 soldiers who had come back on leave. Gance himself recalled: "The conditions in which we filmed were profoundly moving... These men had come straight from the Front – from Verdun – and they were due back eight days later. They played the dead knowing that in all probability they'd be dead themselves before long. Within a few weeks of their return, eighty per cent had been killed."

This devastatingly affecting film will be screened in the nave of the Cathedral, with an organ improvisation from the celebrated organist and composer, Dr David Bednall. With a running time of over two and a half hours, there will be an interval partway through the film to allow a short break for audience and organist alike.

We are hugely grateful to South West Silents for their invaluable collaboration on this screening. 

The screening will be introduced by Andrew Kelly, Director, Bristol Cultural Development Partnership and Bristol Festival of Ideas.

This special screening marks the start of 11 days of World War One centenary commemorations in Bristol Cathedral, culminating in a Requiem Eucharist at 5.30pm on Sunday 11 November, 100 years to the day since the armistice. 

Tickets are £14 (£12 concessions) and are available from getawriggleon.com or opus13.co.uk, 0117 923 0164.

Doors open at 6.00pm for a 6.30pm start.

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