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Born: Lunel, France, 19 February 1873.
Died: Paris, France, 25 February 1925.

Louis Feuillade (JPG, 16 KB)

One of the great pioneers of French cinema, Feuillade started out as a wine merchant, wrote poetry and journalism on topics ranging from a defence of Catholicism to bull-fights and created a short-lived satirical magazine, La Tomate. He was hired by Alice Guy at Gaumont in 1905 and became artistic director in 1907 when Guy left France. He wrote and directed hundreds of comic films, melodramas, biblical scenes, trick films, etc. His stupendous activity encompassed the long-running children's series Bébé and Boutde-Zan; the ambitious art series "Le Film esthétique," based on original subjects and with sophisticated decors; and the realist series "La Vie telle qu'elle est" ("Life as it is"), meant to give "an impression of truth never seen before." This "impression of truth," based on location shooting, informs Feuillade's most famous films, the extraordinary Fantômas (five feature-length films, 1913-14), a baroque crime series set in Paris which mixes the everyday with the delirious, based on phenomenally successful novels by Marcel Allain and Pierre Souvestre. Fantômas combines anarchist and bourgeois sensibilities, a duality which also informs Les Vampires (1915-16), starring Musidora. Both series were immensely popular, an object of fascination for artists, and the target of Establishment disapproval. Feuillade responded with Judex (1917), another series in which the hero was, nominally, on the side of the law. He also made Vendémiaire (1919), Tih-Minh (1919) and Barrabas (1920). His filmography includes almost 400 titles.

— Ginette Vincendeau, Encyclopedia of European Cinema

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