Danton (1983)

PG   |    |  Biography, Drama, History


Danton (1983) Poster

In 1793, as the Terror begins in France, Georges Danton, a champion-of-the-people, returns to clash against Maximilien Robespierre and his extremist party.


7.5/10
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  • Andrzej Wajda in Danton (1983)
  • Gérard Depardieu in Danton (1983)
  • Andrzej Wajda in Danton (1983)
  • Danton (1983)
  • Gérard Depardieu in Danton (1983)
  • Gérard Depardieu in Danton (1983)

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9 November 1999 | ieaun
9
| Wajda's French masterpiece
Set in the 1794, the second year of the French republic formed after the execution of Louis XVI, this film portrays the power struggle between the revolutionary leaders Danton (Gerard Depardieu, at his finest) and Robespierre (a commanding performance by the Polish actor Wojciech Pszoniak). The moderate revolutionary Danton has returned to Paris from his country seat where he has been since being deposed as leader of the Committee of Public Safety in the previous year by Robespierre. He is opposed to "The Reign Of Terror" which has resulted in the executions of thousands of citizens, mainly by guillotine, who are thought to be opposed to the Revolution. Danton is confident of the support of the ordinary people and tries to persuade Robespierre to curb the bloodletting. But Robespierre and the Committee are afraid that the popularity of Danton will lead to them being overthrown, and put Danton and his supporters on trial for being traitors. This was the first French language film made by Andrzej Wajda after he had arrived in France from Poland. His Polish film company was closed down by the government due to his support for the Solidarity trade union, which had opposed the Polish government in the late seventies and early eighties. His previous film "Man Of Iron" (1981) had dealt with the Solidarity union and its leader Lech Walesa, and it is easy to draw comparisons between the relationship of Walesa and the Polish leader General Jaruselski, and that between Danton and Robespierre. Danton/Walesa are the voice of reason opposed to Robespierre/Jaruselski who continue dictatorial rule despite having lost the support of the people they claim to represent. The film is based on the Polish play "The Danton Affair" written by Stanislawa Przybyszewska in the 1930s, and on its release the film was criticised by some for being static and theatrical. But what the film does is to concentrate on the behind-the-scenes meetings of the Committees and the scenes in the National Assembly and the courtroom rather than the activities on the streets of Paris.

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