3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A censored story that demands to be told.,
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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!