Saturday, January 30, 2010

Danton (1983)

Danton is a French-Polish co-production, directed by Andrzej Wajda. The movie tells about the quarrel between two significant figures in the French Revolution: Robespierre and Danton. There was not much about them I learnt at school, so it was interesting to see them became alive, than merely names in history books. I had an impression that since Robespierre was the leader in the Reign of Terror who sent many people to the guillotine, he must be some kind of monster. Here, he is a human being, who cares about his friends, especially Danton and Desmoulins. The Commitee of Public Safety from the beginning want Danton to be arrested, but Robespierre tries to save him, until Danton refuses to co-operate.

Robespierre was played by Polish actor Wojciech Pszoniak, supported by Polish actors. On the other corner, we have Danton played by GĂ©rard Depardieu, supported by French actors. Danton thinks Robespierre has gone too far, while Robespierre believes that in a revolution they must not make any compromise. I think the point of the revolution against King Louis XVI was because the people was hungry, yet 5 years later, in 1794, there was still shortage of bread.

Danton died believing he fought for the right cause, for the better future of France; while during the execution of his ex-friends, Robespierre lied ill in bed - probably his conscience accused him. The ending shows a little boy recites the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, which I think has been forgotten by The Committee of Public Safety, who perhaps has been drunk with the power that they kill everyone who doesn't agree with them. Robespierre himself was guillotined less than 4 months later.

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