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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Reclaiming, ideologically ingrained..."
English screenwriter, film editor and director Peter Watkins` documentary drama which he co-wrote with screenwriter and researcher Agathe Bluysen, is inspired by real events which took place in the capital city of France during two months in the early 1870s. It premiered on German television, was shot on a set at a factory in France and is a French production which was...
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4 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars boring but interesting
Slightly academic project but with good intentions. I would have liked to know that this was a theatrical idea rather than a visual film but my children found the informative historic aspect interesting.
Published on 22 July 2010 by L. Andre


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Reclaiming, ideologically ingrained...", 11 July 2014
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This review is from: La Commune (Paris, 1871) [DVD] (DVD)
English screenwriter, film editor and director Peter Watkins` documentary drama which he co-wrote with screenwriter and researcher Agathe Bluysen, is inspired by real events which took place in the capital city of France during two months in the early 1870s. It premiered on German television, was shot on a set at a factory in France and is a French production which was produced by producer Paul Saadoun. It tells the story about the many citizens of the Third French Republic (1870-1940) and how the history of their nation and Europe was changed during the course of sixty-five days of political revolt by a federation of elected delegates called the National Guard and working class civilians who were dedicated to defend their country and colony from a monarchist restoration and a Prussian invasion by the first Chancellor of Germany Otto von Bismarck (1815-1898), and create an egalitarian social republic.

Distinctly and engagingly directed by English auteur filmmaker Peter Watkins, this finely paced reconstruction which is narrated by the director in written words, by two television journalists for Commune TV named Blance Capellier and Gerard Bourlet and interchangeably from multiple viewpoints, draws an informative and interactive portrayal of political philosophy. While notable for its atmospheric milieu depictions, reverent cinematography by cinematographer Odd-Geir Sæther and costume design by costume designer Eloide Delaux, this dialog-driven and narrative-driven story where themes like communalism, authoritarianism, radicalization and management of political power are exemplified and debated, is a collective study of an historical period in French history which explains hierarchical and other methods used in audiovisual media and other educational systems like religious or state education whilst using a singular process of filmmaking where the many participants who had to adapt to the production democratically and not merely examine and represent their characters but also express their own views on them, the central theme and the making of the film, goes beyond acting with their personal commitment.

This increasingly reflective, densely biographical and extrovert narrative feature from the early 2000s which is set mostly in Paris and in Versailles, France in the late 19th century seventy-three years before women obtained the right to vote in France, and after the fall of emperor Napoleon Bonaparte III (1769-1821), the Second French Empire (1852-1870) and the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871), and where the fictitious place coined by a 16th century English Roman Catholic which centuries later became a reality due to human beings is reenacted, is impelled and reinforced by its cogently fragmented narrative structure, subtle character development, rhythmic continuity, use of photographs, introduction to historical people like a French school teacher known as the red virgin of Montmartre who used the pseudonym Clémence and parallels between the political climate of the 19th and 20th century. A reclaiming, ideologically ingrained and justified homage to French children, women and men.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A censored story that demands to be told., 20 Mar 2012
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G. Phillips "Boyd" (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: La Commune (Paris, 1871) [DVD] (DVD)
An incredibly radical, brave and ambitious piece of cinema by the ever-experimental Peter Watkins. True, it is a very long film at around four or so hours, and I just finished watching it in my third or fourth sitting. What can I say? The film stands as a fitting, democratic monument to those courageous citizens of Paris that rose up in the name of equality, dignity, democracy, justice and freedom only to be ruthlessly butchered by the monstrous forces of the middle classes and aristocracy who, being the greedy creatures they are, could not allow any of the aforementioned principles to exist outside of their control, lest they erode their privelages and ill-gotten gains.

In the spirit of the Commune, Watkins uses over 200 non-professional actors to devastating effect, he merges the past and present by letting them speak with their own radically subjective voices, in character and as themselves, relating the events of 1871 to France and the world in 1999, often through the medium of television interviews for a science-fictional 'CommuneTV' channel (thereby allowing a critique of the role of the press of yesterday and today). In practice, Watkins shows the audience that the Commune is alive and well within each and every person that abhors social injustice, or who feels alienated by what passes for 'society' in the western world and beyond, as well as accurately relaying the historical events.

A beautiful, terrifying and compelling piece of film-making, which deserves a wider viewing, not only for the sake of the victims of Thiers's 'Bloody Week', but also because the film is a minor masterpiece of 'living cinema'...

Vive La Commune!
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4 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars boring but interesting, 22 July 2010
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L. Andre - See all my reviews
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This review is from: La Commune (Paris, 1871) [DVD] (DVD)
Slightly academic project but with good intentions. I would have liked to know that this was a theatrical idea rather than a visual film but my children found the informative historic aspect interesting.
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La Commune (Paris, 1871) [DVD]
La Commune (Paris, 1871) [DVD] by Peter Watkins (DVD - 2003)
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