There are two ways to experience La Roue at NYFF61:

One of silent cinema’s undeniable high-water marks, Abel Gance’s monumental work of psychological realism, La Roue, is a narratively and emotionally expansive epic whose technical innovations changed the course of film history. The film recounts the doomed love of a railroad engineer, Sisif (Séverin-Mars), for the orphan he takes in and raises as his own daughter, Norma (Ivy Close); upon realizing that his affection for Norma is as romantic as it is paternal, he inadvertently sets in motion a tragic chain of events. Shot almost entirely on location and marked by a dazzling array of techniques that would influence countless filmmakers in the decades to come—superimpositions, extreme close-ups, and rhythmic montage, to name a few—La Roue is at once a towering classic of early narrative cinema and a genuine formal experiment whose gambits shaped our understanding of film style. A Janus Films Release. New 4K Restoration.

The Fondation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé restored the film in collaboration with the Cinémathèque Française, the Cinémathèque Suisse, and Pathé and with the support of the Centre National du Cinéma et de l’image animée. The reconstitution of the music was supervised in Germany under the responsibility of ZDF/ARTE and the composer Bernd Thewes. It relied on the musical list of the conductor Paul Fosse played during the first screening and which had been kept at the Cinémathèque Française. The reconstitution and interpretation of the music is the result of a collaboration between the Fondation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé, ZDF/ARTE, the radio station Deutschlandfunk Kultur, and the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra.