Screening Dates
  • January 5 (Friday) 6:30
  • January 11 (Thursday) 8:35
  • January 21 (Sunday) 1:00 Part 1 (115 min.)
  • January 5 (Friday) 8:45
  • January 14 (Sunday) 6:00
  • January 21 (Sunday) 3:30 Part 2 (111 min.)
  • January 7 (Sunday) 6:30
  • January 15 (Monday) 6:30
  • January 21 (Sunday) 6:00 Part 3 (94 min.)
  • January 7 (Sunday) 8:35
  • January 15 (Monday) 8:35
  • January 21 (Sunday) 8:00 Part 4 (92 min.)
New Restoration

There is cinema before and after La roue the way there is painting before and after Picasso.”

Jean Cocteau

Between the major achievements of J’accuse (1919) and Napoléon (1927), Abel Gance made the most personal, aesthetically revolutionary, and ambitious film of his career, a nearly seven-hour silent epic that, until now, has never been seen in full in North America. La roue opens with a train crash realized in extraordinary red-tinted montage, and the rest of its tale of tragic fate exists in the aftermath. Sisif, a first-class engineer, Norma, the orphan he adopts from the train’s wreckage, and Elie, his young son, find themselves isolated by limited means and tortured by a curse of forbidden desire; Gance’s Victor Hugo-inspired narrative transports them from Sisyphus in steam and Prometheus in fire to Oedipus in snow” (Gilles Deleuze). Seeking to destroy the borders between narrative cinema and modernist art, Gance devised innovations termed dynamite images” and accelerated montage,” modulating scale and speed with a sense of freedom to match La roues juxtaposed motif: a rose enmeshed with the mechanical rail. Cinema’s love affair with trains began with the Lumières’ arrival, but Gance established new points of departure visible in Chaplin, Truffaut, and the flicker films of the avant-garde. This not-to-be-missed landmark restoration was a NYFF 2023 selection.

French intertitles with English subtitles

The first film that really impressed me was La roue.”

Kurosawa Akira

With Gance the French school [invented] a cinema of the sublime.”

Gilles Deleuze

La roue is still ahead of its time … The full potential of the cinema, as suggested by this astonishing film, has not yet been realized.”

Kevin Brownlow, The Parade’s Gone By

This reconstruction of the February 1923 version of La roue, divided into a prologue and four parts, is accompanied by the music selected by Arthur Honneger and Paul Fosse for the Gaumont-Palace release of the film. The original exhibition was over three non-consecutive days. Our presentation provides this option, as well as the chance to experience the film over two days or a single day.