Nonguet, Lucien

   Director. Lucien Nonguet was a stage manager in the Parisian theater before he came to cinema, no doubt through his connections to former theatrical personalities like Ferdinand Zecca (both had ties to the Théâtre de l'Ambigu). Nonguet was hired on at Pathé as a director and assistant to Zecca in 1901, and the two began a series of important collaborations. The first of these was Quo Vadis (1901) based on the novel by Henryk Sienkiewicz, and this was shortly followed by the much lighter and more magical féerie, La Belle au bois dormant, in 1902. The best known of the Zecca/Nonguet collaborations is the silent-film classic La Vie et la passion de Jésus Christ (1905), which presents the life of Christ in a series of epic tableaux.
   Nonguet also made a number of films at Pathé working on his own. When working alone, he seemed to prefer either historical reconstructions or reconstructed actualités, and both types of films have similar characteristics. They are composed of a series of tableaux, they are filmed in long shots with no camera movement, and they are often based on photographs or paintings of the events depicted. Nonguet's historical films include La Révolution en Russie (1905), Le Saint Barthélémy (1905), on the infamous massacres during France's wars of religion, and the grand Épopée Napoléonéenne (1903), a sweeping, two-part epic of the life of Napoleon. The Épopée Napoléonéenne is of particular interest not only because of its popular success, but also because it seems to have been the model upon which Nonguet's later histories and actualités were based, and indeed upon which many Pathé histories and actualités were based.
   Nonguet divided the film into two parts, one consisting of five tableaux depicting Napoleon's early life and childhood and the second composed of ten tableaux depicting his rise to power and the Empire. The tableaux are based on paintings of Napoleon by Jacques-Louis David, Horace Vernet, and others. It seems that Pathé composed the film so that the entire thing could be shown together or that any of the component tableaux or any combination of them could be shown separately, therefore maximizing the commercial potential of what must have been a rather expensive film to make. This structure was used again with La Vie et la Passion de Notre Seigneur Jésus Christ (1907) by Zecca.
   An interesting exception to this trend in the historical reconstructions is La Révolution en Russie, which blends fictional scenes with real documentary footage, and features some variations in shot. This is a slightly later film, and it may show the influence of experimentation within the cinema as it began to evolve toward narrative.
   In addition to reconstructed histories and actualities, Nonguet also made several burlesque films near the end of his film career, including films with silent-film icon Max Linder. These include Idée d'Apache (1906) and Les Débuts du Max au cinéma (1908). Nonguet also had a number of collaborations with other Pathé directors, most notably his 1908 collaboration with Albert Capellani on the remake of La Belle au bois dormant. Nonguet left Pathé in 1910 and went to work for Éclair. He made a handful of films with that studio and disappeared from view in 1920. His precise date of death is not known.
   Historical Dictionary of French Cinema by Dayna Oscherwitz & Mary Ellen Higgins

Guide to cinema. . 2011.

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  • Nonguet, Lucien — (1868 ?)    Director. Lucien Nonguet was a stage manager in the Parisian theater before he came to cinema, no doubt through his connections to former theatrical personalities like Ferdinand Zecca (both had ties to the Théâtre de l Ambigu).… …   Historical Dictionary of French Cinema

  • Nonguet, Lucien — (1868, France Deceased)    He was extras casting director in the famous Parisian music halls L Ambigu, Le Châtelet, and La Porte Saint Martin when Ferdinand Zecca hired him to co direct several Pathé productions. From 1906 to 1910, he shot Max… …   Encyclopedia of French film directors

  • Lucien Nonguet — est un réalisateur et scénariste français né en 1868, mort à une date inconnue après 1920. Sommaire 1 Biographie 2 Filmographie 2.1 comme réalisateur …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Gabriel Leuvielle — Max Linder Pour les articles homonymes, voir Linder. Max Linder Photographie autographe de Max Linder en 1912 …   Wikipédia en Français

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  • Max —    Série de courts métrages burlesques d une ou deux bobines (300 ou 600 m), produits par Pathé (1910 1916) et Essanay (1917), avec Max Linder.   Pays: France puis États Unis   Dates de sortie: 1910 1917    Résumé    Les tribulations à travers la …   Dictionnaire mondial des Films

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