Louis Delluc

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Louis Delluc, around 1920

Louis Delluc (born October 14, 1890 in Cadouin , France , † March 22, 1924 in Paris , France; actually Louis-Jean-René Delluc ) was a French film director , screenwriter , writer , film critic and film theorist .


Training and activity as a journalist

Louis Delluc was born Louis-Jean-René Delluc in the Dordogne department in southwest France in 1890 . His father was the owner of a pharmacy in Cadouin and deputy mayor of the town. A few years after Delluc's birth, the family moved to Bordeaux before moving to Paris in 1903. In the French capital, Delluc received a classical school education at the Lycée Henri IV and the Lycée Charlemagne , where he met Léon Moussinac (1890-1964), a film critic who later became known in France and with whom he would be lifelong friends. By the age of fourteen Delluc, who at the time was very fond of literature and the theater, had already written several plays. When he was fifteen, he received an award for his first published poem. Delluc then published theater reviews and poetry and between 1907 and 1909 made his poems available to the Petit Poète de Nice , the Le Courier de Paris-Province and the La Revue Française, among others . In 1908 his first collection of poems appeared under the title Chansons du jeune temps and a year later Delluc gave up his studies, which should have led him to the Écoles normales supérieures (ENS).

After dropping out of college, Louis Delluc turned to journalism . In 1910 he became an employee of the renowned Paris theater journal Comoedia illustré . Through this activity he made the acquaintance of many theater professionals , including the director Irénée Mauget , who premiered Delluc's play Francesca on June 11, 1911 at the Théâtre de Verdure in Marnes-la-Coquette . At the age of 23 he met the Belgian Eve Francis (1886-1980), bourgeois Eva François, who had played in several leading roles in the plays of the French writer Paul Claudel and was considered his muse . With Francis, Delluc shared a love of Claude Debussy's music , ballet and the Russian dancer Ida Rubinstein , icon and patroness of the Belle Époque . Francis took Delluc to numerous film screenings, but he despised the so-called art films of his era, newsreels , and works such as Louis Feuillade's 1913 sequel Fantômas . It wasn't until 1916, when Cecil B. DeMille's silent film The Cheat (1915) was shown, that his mind changed. The American cinema fascinated Delluc and he began to write film reviews and became interested in filmmaking. 1916 and his first novel Monsieur Berlin was published. In 1917 he published his first film review in Henri Diamant-Berger's (1895-1972) magazine Le Film , which he was to co-edit until 1919, as well as his second novel La guerre est morte .

Elevation of the film to an art form

In January 1918 Louis Delluc married Eve Francis, and a few days later he was drafted into military service. In 1914 he tried unsuccessfully to join the army. This draft was considered a punitive measure for his work in the pacifist newspaper Le bonnet rouge . While he was stationed in Aurillac in the Auvergne region until the summer of 1919 , he continued his work as a film critic, journalist and writer. In the same year his conversations with the actor Édouard de Max (1869-1924), with whom he philosophized about theater and the art of acting, were published under the title Chez de Max and Delluc was given the opportunity to publish a weekly film column in the daily newspaper Paris-Midi to write. At that time there were few serious and independent film critics and although others, such as the Italian writer Riciotto Canudo (1877-1977), had pioneered the field, Delluc is considered to be the founder of film criticism . With his articles he influenced literary and intellectual circles and gradually more newspapers showed themselves to be receptive to film reviews. In 1919 his film reviews were published in Paris-Midi under the title Cinéma & cie , and in 1920 the band Photogénie with critical and theoretical treatises on the medium of film. A year later, Charlot , Delluc's treatise on Charlie Chaplin, was published, translated into English by Hamish Miles in 1922 and published under the title Charlie Chaplin .

Through his wife Eve Francis, Louis Delluc came into contact with the film director Germaine Dulac , who realized one of his scripts in 1919. La Fête espagnole (English: "The Spanish Festival" ) takes place in Spain and tells the story of two hostile landowners (played by Gaston Modot and Jean Toulout ) who vie for the favor of the attractive Soledad (Eve Francis). The French film theorist Jean Mitry (1907-1988) later rated the film as a memorable moment in the history of French cinema. Delluc himself felt that the atmosphere would have been more authentic when filming on location in Spain, while his companion Léon Moussinac blamed the director for not fully bringing out the cinematic excellence of Delluc's film script. Film historians see in Louis Delluc and Germaine Dulac leaders of a group of filmmakers such as Jean Epstein , Abel Gance and Marcel L'Herbier , the so-called Impressionist school or first avant-garde . However, this contradicts Delluc's biographer Marcel Tariol, film historian and professor of literature in Toulouse, and the film journalist Richard Abel, who views the French filmmaker's work as influential but individual. Delluc is more a legacy of American cinema, whose representatives Douglas Fairbanks , David Wark Griffith , Thomas Harper Ince and Charlie Chaplin he admired.

Work as a film director

Louis Delluc directed it himself for the first time in 1920. The black and white silent film Fumée noire (Eng: "Black Smoke" ), with his wife Eve Francis in the female lead, tells the story of a couple who are visited by an uncle. He tells them about his travels to the far East . The hypnotic effect of his stories and gifts provokes dreams that seem to take on reality. Fumée noire is an example of Delluc's subsequent films, which confront his characters with the present and the past as well as with reality and imagination. These subjects took Delluc in his next film Le Silence (dt .: "The silence" of his not chronological sequences that run as a pioneer of works such) that Alain Resnais ' Last Year at Marienbad (1961) is considered. The 25-minute work, with Gabriel Signoret and Eve Francis in the leading roles, focuses on a husband who waits in vain for his wife to arrive. He then takes refuge in an internal monologue and gives in to the fantasy that his wife would cheat on him. Also in 1920, in January, the first edition of the Journal du Ciné-club appeared , later Ciné-club , which Delluc founded together with Léon Moussiniac. The aim of the two was to bring the film-loving people in France together with the magazine. While this attempt failed and the Journal du Ciné-club was closed in 1921, the number of film enthusiasts grew. Delluc, together with Moussinac and Riciotto Canudo, organized public film screenings, including the French premiere of Robert Wiene's expressionist classic Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari (1919). At the same time they showed a large number of American productions and made the Swedish film known, of which Victor Sjöström and Mauritz Stiller were among its representatives at the time .

In 1923 Louis Delluc published the Cinéa , founded by Arkady Romanoff in May 1921 , which was soon to establish itself as strongly in cinematic subjects as the Comoedia illustré in the theater world. Delluc turned the Cinéa, on which Jean Epstein, Émile Vuillermoz and Léon Moussinac worked, into a forum for film reviews and theoretical treatises on the medium of film. The weekly was considered the first artistically sophisticated film magazine in France. After his unsuccessful third work as a director, Le Chemin d'Ernoa (1920, German: "The Path of Ernoa" ), in which he experimented with the visual possibilities of the landscape, he made his fourth film Fièvre (German: "Fever" ) in 1921 . The story of passion, jealousy and murder in a Marseilles seaman's tavern was a critical success. The lifelike and lively atmosphere of the film was praised and compared with the works Shards and Back Stairs by the Austrian screenwriter Carl Mayer . With Le Tonnerre (1921) Delluc failed to build on the success and his reputation as a filmmaker was only consolidated again in 1922 with La Femme de nulle part (German: "The woman from nowhere" ). In the silent film, Eve Francis plays a mysterious woman who has been abandoned by her husband. When she returns to the place of her childhood, she meets a young woman (played by Gine Avril ) who is struggling with the same problems. La Femme de nulle part, in which Delluc once again made use of the themes of time and memory, past and present as central elements, is one of his outstanding works today, together with Fièvre .

Louis Delluc finished his last film in 1924. L'Inondation ( Eng .: "The Flood" ), produced by Marcel L'Herbier, staged Delluc in the tradition of Swedish films. The focus is on a woman (played by Eve Francis) who is returning to her home village in the Rhone Valley . She falls in love with someone else's fiancée (Edmond Van Daële), which she ultimately has to pay with her life under mysterious circumstances. The criticism complained that the eponymous flood in the plot had only a secondary function and was only of a purely poetic nature. Filming in the Rhône valley was made difficult by the cold and rain, which took a toll on the filmmaker's health. Delluc suffered from a severe loss of strength and died a few weeks later at the age of 33 of tuberculosis , without being able to continue his film theories and his promising work as a film director. Louis Delluc, who coined the term cinéaste , was described as a prophet by Henri Langlois , founder of the Cinémathèque Française . Langlois had several of Delluc's numerous film treatises republished in the early 1980s. Delluc was glorified by his long-time companion Léon Moussinac as one of the heroes of the heroic era of cinema. Two years after his death, the Brazilian Alberto Cavalcanti (1897-1982) took on Delluc's novel Le train sans yeux , published in 1919, and filmed it with the German Hans Mierendorff in the leading role. In 1937 the Louis-Delluc-Preis ( Prix ​​Louis-Delluc ) was launched in memory of him , which annually honors the best French cinema production.

Works (selection)


  • 1916: Monsieur Berlin
  • 1917: La guerre est morte
  • 1919: Le train sans yeux
  • 1919: La danse du scalp
  • 1923: L'homme des bars
  • 1928: Le dernier sourire de tête-brûlée
  • 1958: L'enfance d'une pure


  • 1918: Chez de Max
  • 1919: Cinéma & cie
  • 1920: Photogénie
  • 1921: Charlot
  • 1921: La jungle du cinéma
  • 1923: Drames de cinéma

Volumes of poetry

  • 1908: Chansons du jeune temps


  • 1911: Francesca
  • 19 ??: La Vivante




Literature (selection)

Primary literature


  • Delluc, Louis: Monsieur de Berlin . Paris: Bibliothèque Charpentier; E. Fasquelle, 1916. (French edition)
  • Delluc, Louis: Le train sans yeux . Paris, G. Crès & cie, 1919. (French edition)
  • Delluc, Louis: La danse du scalp: roman . Paris: B. Grasset, 1919. (French edition)
  • Delluc, Louis: L'homme des bars . Paris: La Pensée française, 1923. (French edition)
  • Delluc, Louis: Le dernier sourire de tête-brûlée: roman . Paris: Éditions du monde moderne, 1928. (French edition)
  • Delluc, Louis: L'enfance d'une pure . Paris: Bourrelier, 1958. (French edition)
  • Delluc, Louis: Par la plume ou par l'épée: la jeunesse aventureuse de Cervantes . Namur: Soleil Levanti, 1963. (French edition)
  • Delluc, Louis: La guerre est morte . Pantin: Le Castor astral, 1991. - ISBN 2859201858 (French edition)


  • Delluc, Louis: Cinéma & cie: confidences d'un spectateur . Paris: Grasset, 1919. (French edition)
  • Delluc, Louis: Photogénie . Paris: M. de Brunoff, 1920. (French edition)
  • Delluc, Louis: La jungle du cinéma . Paris: Aux éditions de la Sirène, 1921. (French edition)
  • Delluc, Louis; Chaplin, Charlie; Miles, Hamish: Charlie Chaplin . London: John Lane; New York: John Lane Company, 1922. (English edition)
  • Delluc, Louis: Drames de cinéma . Paris: Éditions du Monde nouveau, 1923. (French edition)
  • Delluc, Louis; Lherminier, Pierre: Le cinéma et les cinéastes . [Paris]: Cinémathèque française, 1985. - ISBN 2900596025 (French edition)
  • Delluc Louis; Lherminier, Pierre: Ecrits cinématographiques . [Paris]: Cinémathèque française, 1985-1990. - ISBN 2900596025 (French edition)
  • Delluc Louis; Lherminier, Pierre: Cinéma et Cie . Paris: Cinémathèque française, 1986. - ISBN 290059605X (French edition)
  • Delluc, Louis: Drames de cinéma: scenarios et projets de films . Paris: Cinémathèque française: Cahiers du cinéma, 1990. - ISBN 2866421019 (French edition)
  • Delluc, Louis; Lherminier, Pierre: Le cinéma au quotidien . [Paris]: Cinémathèque française: Cahiers du cinéma, 1990. - ISBN 2866420918 (French edition)

Volumes of poetry

  • Delluc, Louis: Chansons du jeune temps, poésies 1906–1908 . Paris: Saint-Gervais, 1908. (French edition)
  • Delluc, Louis: La Princesse qui ne sourit plus: ballet parlé: précédé de Chanson de route d'un qui n'est pas parti, Marche funèbre des Hohenzollern, Le porc-épic, Prière aux aviateurs: poèmes écrits pour M. Edouard de Max ... . Paris: Éditions d'Aujourd'hui, 1978. (French edition)


  • Delluc, Louis: Francesca . Paris: B. Grasset, 1911. (French edition)

Secondary literature

  • Tariol, Marcel: Louis Delluc . [Paris]: Editions Seghers, 1965 (Cinéma d'aujourd'hui 30). (French edition)
  • Anthologie du cinéma, tome VII. Paris VI: L'Avant-Scène-CIB, 1973. (French edition)
  • Wakeman, John: World Film Directors 1890–1945 . New York: The HW Wilson Company, 1987. (English edition)
  • Moreau, Françoise: Louis Delluc: écrivain . Lille: ANRT, Université de Lille III, 1992. (French edition)
  • Passek, Jean Loup: Dictionnaire du cinéma . Paris: Larousse-Bordas, 1998. - ISBN 2035123178 (French edition)
  • Delluc, Gilles: Louis Delluc, 1890–1924: l'éveilleur du cinéma français au temps des années folles . Périgueux: Pilote 24; [Paris]: Les Indépendants du Ier siècle, 2002. - ISBN 2912347238 (French edition)

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