Monday, December 8, 2014

BEST PICTURE SHOWCASE: "The Life of Emile Zola" (1937)

One of the things I've enjoyed most in doing this blog series is learning about and watching the Best Picture winners in history that I know very little, if anything, about.  Today, we have one of those films.  1937's The Life of Emile Zola is a biographical motion picture, or biopic, about the French author and activist Zola, practitioner of the literary school of naturalism and an important contributor to the development of theatrical naturalism.  He also did not shy away from controversial topics, calling out the government and society when he felt it was necessary.  He was usually right, because Zola was a major figure in the political liberalization of France from the Nazis.  His biggest success, if you will, probably was being greatly responsible for the exoneration of a falsely accused and convicted army officer named Alfred Dreyfus.  The film's title would seem to indicate it's about Zola's entire life, but that's not quite the case.  It does not cover any of Zola's childhood, but instead starts up in 1862 when Zola was in his early 20's.  Let's take a look at the first film to score 10 Oscar nominations.