Early SIGNED Manuscript, in French, 4to, n.p., August 29, 1908.
Gance writes a four stanza poem entitled, "Death for Life to Rimbaud," referring to French avant-garde poet, Arthur Rimbaud, (1854-91). The first stanza reads: "In the musky and singeing air thick with strange shrillness' The drum dully hammers at enthusiasm/Bullets, shells rain down, living sarcasm/That spares the wounded that pain devours./ The battle twists on the folds in the hills/And spits black blood on the broken guns/While, witness to the heavens of blood gold set glow/High up, floating in the crimson clamor, the crow!" He signs, "A. Gance with and time, "9 PM." He writes a Latin quotation in Latin following the signature, "To live, shed the reason for living." The Latin quote is translated into French and given the citation, "Juvenal, Satire VIII" in another hand and refers to the satirical poems by the Roman poet Juvenal written in the late 1st and early 2nd centuries AD.
At this early point in Gance's long career in cinema, he had gone to Brussels to act at the Theatre du Parc. His attention turned to film and the following year, 1909, he started selling screen plays to the Gaumont film company. Within two years Gance formed his own company. This early manuscript comes from the pre-cinema period of Gance's long film career typically dated as having begun in 1909, the year following this poem. The poem itself suggests Rimbaud's influence on Gance in this early period. Gance first gained recognition in 1917 with his film "Mater dolorosa" (“Sorrowful Mother,” remade in 1932) and in 1918 with "La Dixième Symphonie" (“Tenth Symphony”).