French cinema - the Silent Era

Le Voyage dans la lune (1902)
This early science-fiction fantasy shows some extraordinarily imaginative use of early filmmaking technique. [More...]
Fantômas (1913)
The first great thriller series in cinema followed the dastardly exploits of master criminal Fantômas. [More...]
Les Vampires (1915)
This legendary crime thriller series shocked audiences and made Musidora a star in her role as villainous Irma Vep. [More...]

L'Atlantide (1921)
Feyder's first notable film was this adaptation of Pierre Benoît's novel, a lavish production famous for its stunning location shots of the Sahara desert and sumptuous interiors. [More...]
Crainquebille (1922)
This poignant realist comedy-drama featuring a Chaplinesque street pedler is one of Feyder's early achievements, a film of great charm and humanity. [More...]
La Roue (1923)
This epic romantic drama is sustained by Abel Gance's imaginative cinematic technique and an extraordinary performance from Severin-Mars. [More...]

Eldorado (1921)
L'Herbier takes a plain melodrama and transforms it into an enthralling dream-like fantasy, heaving with emotional turmoil. [More...]
Les Trois mousquetaires (1921)
This ambitious historical adventure series is arguably the best film adaptation of Alexandre Dumas' swashbuckling novel. [More...]
La Fille de l'eau (1925)
Not Renoir's best film, but certainly one of his most inspired, a stunningly realised romantic fantasy. [More...]

Nana (1926)
This lavish adaptation of an Emile Zola novel virtually ruined its director but is now regarded as one of his early masterpieces. [More...]
Le Joueur d'échecs (1927)
This spectacular historical drama is one of the triumphs of early French cinema, and makes some powerful statements on the futility of war. [More...]
Napoléon (1927)
Often cited as the greatest film ever made in France, this epic portrayal of the early career of Napoleon Bonaparte is a paean to French nationalism. [More...]

Monte Cristo (1929)
This epic adaptation of Dumas' classic novel is a work of breathtaking ambition realised with immense skill and humanity. [More...]
Mystères du château Dé (1929)
A bizarre but utterly fascinating surreal short whose meaning seems to change drastically with every viewing. [More...]
Un chien andalou (1929)
This perplexing mélange of unrelated images, which include a novel approach to eye surgery, launched the career of cinema's greatest surrealist filmmaker. [More...]