Abel Gance's Napoleon, 2012

Photo © Pamela Gentile

Don't wait for it to come to a theater near you —
getting Gance's magnum opus on the screen is a Herculean task!"
— Martin Scorsese, Vanity Fair (March 2012)

March 24, 25, 31, April 1, 2012
Abel Gance’s epic NAPOLEON is the Holy Grail of silent masterpieces. In March 2012, over 30 years after Francis Ford Coppola toured a four-hour road show version of the film, the San Francisco Silent Film Festival finally presented legendary film historian Kevin Brownlow’s complete five-and-a-half-hour restoration of Napoleon in the United States, along with the American premiere of the magnificent score by Carl Davis, at the Art Deco Paramount Theatre, Oakland. Mr. Davis conducted 48 members of the Oakland East Bay Symphony for these four unique screenings, which also featured the original “Polyvision” three-screen finale. Over the four performance days, more than 10,000 people packed the Paramount Theatre for this landmark presentation — it was truly the cinema event of a lifetime!


NapoleonTrailer-16x9 from Silent Film Festival on Vimeo.

Due to the expense, technical challenges, and complicated rights issues involved, no screenings are planned for any other American city. This monumental event was presented by the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, in association with American Zoetrope, The Film Preserve, Photoplay Productions, and BFI.