Mater dolorosa (1917) AKA The Torture of Silence


Dr. Gilles Berliac has no time for his wife Marthe. She seeks solace in the arms of his brother, Claude Rolland. Overcome with guilt for the affair, Claude tries to leave Marthe, at which Marthe attempts suicide and, in a struggle with her lover, acidentally shoots him.

Director: Abel Gance.
Stars: Emmy Lynn, Firmin-Gémier, Armand Tallier, Anthony Gildès, Paul Vermoyal, Gaston Modot, Antonin Carène. AKA The Torture of Silence


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  1. Michael
    September 4, 2019

    a rare gem from a master director. Many thanks

  2. Patrick Trimble
    October 11, 2021

    Thank you Jon for this early Abel Gance. As early silent cinema, I found it surprisingly lmited in the movement and camera that was to come aplenty in Gance’s later work, but still immeniently watchable. Thanks!

  3. November 30, 2023

    Yes it could be argued that the opening ‘flash forward’ is unnecessary and the intriguing way the story is set up – each character is deliberately set aside with on screen name captions – doesn’t really pay off with the type of intricate ‘character study’ it was promising, it’s still admirable that a potentially silly premise is treated with such square-jawed conviction.

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