Marcel L'Herbier was a French filmmaker who achieved prominence as an avant-garde theorist and imaginative practitioner with a series of silent films in the 1920s. His career as a director continued until the 1950s and he made more than 40 feature films in total. During the 1950s and 1960s, he worked on cultural programmes for French television. He also fulfilled many administrative roles in the French film industry, and he was the founder and the first President of the French film school Institut des hautes études cinématographiques (IDHEC).
In 1921, only three years after his first film, Marcel L'Herbier was voted by readers of a French film magazine as the best French director. In the following year, the critic Léon Moussinac marked him as one of the filmmakers whose work was most important for the future of cinema. In this period, L'Herbier was linked with filmmakers such as Abel Gance, Germaine Dulac and Louis Delluc as part of a "first avant-garde" (Impressionism) in French cinema, the first generation to think spontaneously in animated images.