Sunday, September 07, 1986

Film concert Napoléon vu par Abel Gance 1986 Helsinki Festival, Finlandia Hall, Kevin Brownlow restoration, conductor Carl Davis, Turku Philharmonic Orchestra

Napoléon vu par Abel Gance (FR 1927). Cover of the souvenir programme in Helsinki, 6-7 September 1986. A4, bilingual in Finnish and Swedish, 24 p.

The dress rehearsal was on 6 Sep 1986.
The film concert was on 7 Sep 1986.

The start of the film concert on 7 Sep was postponed from 14 pm till 16 pm at short notice due to force majeure. Urho Kekkonen (1900-1986), President of Finland in 1956-1982, died on 31 August 1986. His funeral cortege passed the Finlandia Hall on Mannerheimintie at the time when the film concert was originally scheduled.

The actual program of the film concert:
Part I  16.00-17.50
Intermission 20 min
Part II  18.10-19.15
Intermission one hour
Part III 20.15-21.25
Intermission 20 min
Part IV  21.45-23.00

320 min (5 h 20 min)

The screen was 14,5 m wide and 7,5 m high.
The screening was in 35 mm and for the triptych sequences in 35 mm and 70 mm.
The projection speed was 20 fps except 18 fps for Brienne.
The technical director of the projection was Charles Beddow (British Film Institute), assisted by Andrew Youdell (BFI).
Carl Davis was assisted by Paul Wing.
The event took place in the presence of Kevin Brownlow, to whom we paid a tribute at Cinema Orion.

The event was organized by Helsinki Festival in collaboration with the Finnish Film Archive. In charge on behalf of the Helsinki Festival was Veijo Varpio. The primus motor was Peter von Bagh. After he left the Finnish Film Archive in 1985, I followed as the contactperson.

The score arranged and composed by Carl Davis.
Beethoven - J. S. Bach - Cherubini - Dittersdorf - Gluck - Gossec - Gretry - Haydn - Mehul - Monsigni - Mozart.
"La Marseillaise", "Carmagnole", "Ça ira" and other traditional and period songs and tunes.

Part I
Brienne - French Revolution 1789 - La Marseillaise - Return to Corsica and Escape from Corsica - from now on there is but one home: France.

Part II
The Siege of Toulon

Part III
The Terror - Corday assassinates Marat - Napoléon imprisoned in Antibes - Danton to the guillotine - death sentences to Napoléon and Joséphine - Thermidor: Barras, Robespierre overthrown, end of the Terror - Napoléon refuses to fight the Royalists in La Vendée and is demoted to the topographic bureau of the army, drafting an attack plan to Italy - France in ruins - Royalists threaten the government, Barras engages Napoléon during Vendémiaire - Napoléon crushes the counter-revolution - Bal des Victimes - Napoléon in thrall of Joséphine

Part IV
Napoléon promoted to commander of the Army of the Interior - during the disarmament a young boy visits Napoléon and asks for the sword of his father who was executed during the terror: Vicomte de Beauharnais who sacrificed himself to save his wife Joséphine, a mistress of Barras - Barras and Joséphine make an agreement: Napoléon is promoted to the commander of the army of Italy, and Joséphine agrees to marry Napoléon - the Forgotten Wedding: Napoléon forgets his own wedding and arrives hours late to the ceremony - the Double Wedding Night: the tender love of Napoléon and Joséphine and the imaginary union of Violine Fleuri with her Napoléon memorabilia - at the National Convention, Napoléon meets the ghosts of the Revolution - the beginning of the Italian Campaign: the army is demoralized, the officers treat the upstart from Paris with condescension - but Napoléon instils to his army, Les Mendiants de la Gloire, an invincible fighting spirit.