Wednesday, 28 April 2021

La Folie du Docteur Tube

Short, comic, and simply weird, La Folie du Docteur Tube (1915) is a strange film to have come from Abel Gance, the acclaimed director of such serious and psychological films as J'accuse (1919) and Napoléon (1927). A true double-dome egghead scientist discovers a white powder that, in either fact or perception, distorts reality. He unleashes this plague on his houseboy and a quartet of young lovers until they forcefully compel him to reverse the process.

There are overtones of drug use in any film involving mysterious white powders that affect reality, but more than that, La Folie du Docteur Tube was an opportunity for Gance to begin a long career of innovative cinematography. Lenses and funhouse-type apparatus help achieve the effect of reality going berserk. Gance would be renowned for his work in later films. For Docteur Tube, the company was so outraged by this madness that they refused to release it.

  La Folie du Docteur Tube paired with the
album Twirligig by Jonti.

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