#18 La Roue (1923)

What do we know about trains? They are giant hunks of metal with a huge engine take us from place to place and the wheels keep going round and round until we get to where we need to get. The train is also the driving force in the French film La Roue. This is a film that caught my interest the whole way about a train engineer, Sisif, who takes in a baby girl, Norma, after her mother dies in a train crash and falls in love with her…so does his son, Elie, …and so does her father’s partner, Hersan, who threatens to reveal his secret unless he is promised her hand in marriage. Messy…and a bit incestuous. Something tells me that if this film was made today, it would be told in a gross and raunchy way. But here, it’s more that Sisif and Elie love Norma for the fun person she is and that she’s beautiful. Does that still sound weird to you or an interesting story?


This film is known for it’s use of lighting. It uses nice soft-contrasts to the close-up shots as a way of drawing sympathy towards these characters. It’s also known for using a series of quick shots in a way where it’s like a montage. That method is used for moments of suspense to add even more intensity which I guarantee you will keep you on the edge of your seat.


This was a nice melodrama. I’ll admit that I felt the second half of the film could have been trimmed down a little bit more and that it wasn’t necessary for it to be four and a half hours but I’m not going to judge a movie that takes its time to tell them story. After all, the film originally ran eight and a half hours long! If you like unpredictable dramas, this is the film for you.

Watch this intense french drama and let me know what you think:


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