The silent film concerts of the Prima Vista Quartet


the films

> "Women during the war"

Dir. Alexandre Devarennes (30’) - 1917

> "Children during the war"

Dir. Henri Desfontaines (31’) - 1918

> "No man’s land"

footages of the front (28’) - 1915 to 1918


composer  Baudime Jam (2014)

From August 1914 to November 1918, France mobilized 8,700,000 soldiers and sailors. This bleeding resulted in brutally parting men from women and children. Each one had to reconsider one’s destiny and reinvent one’s daily life in order to survive, certainly, but also to live, despite the horror.

In the cities, the factories, and the fields, women reinvest territories left fallow : their mobilization is exemplary. But their contribution is not limited to the war effort: they bring comfort, joy and hope, while preparing the future. At the rear of the front, between two assaults, the « poilus » rebuild any semblance of "normal" life in the ruins which have become their home. Improvised concerts, puppet shows, theatrical performances: with a bombing background, the Broken faces organize the great escape of the soul, knowing instinctively that they need to forget in order to survive. And children? More often left to themselves than usual, they mimic this war whose echoes reach them with little distortion. Through the animated book that her dad on leave gave to her, little Micheline discovers the daily life of her fellow children in the time of general mobilization. But over there, in the east, there is another reality : the front. Men. Barely men. Shadows that creep into a mud of steel, bones and blood under an invisible sky torn with deafening lightning. Clenched hands, silent screams, gutted heads, feet rooted in the nourishing earth. Dazzling visions. Strangely beautiful.

Thanks to the ECPAD (Communication and Audiovisual Production Company for the Department of Defence), which has opened its precious archives, we invite you to discover the Great War through the eyes of the men, women and children who lived though it : portrait of a disjointed Humanity seeking a meaning to resist the unspeakable.

the disjointed Humanity

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