La Commune (Paris, 1871) is a drama about the Paris Commune. It is a historical re-enactment in the style of a documentary, and was shot in an abandoned factory on the outskirts of Paris. The large cast is mainly non-professional, including many immigrants from North Africa.
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Peter Watkins last, and only film of the last 20 years. Having taken the genre of documentary to unheard-of-places with films like "Punishment Park", "The War Game" and "Privilege" that used fictional stories to illustrate very real things, he goes even further by creating an accurate fictionalization that integrates the real feelings of the actors.This film doesn't just break down the 4th wall, it tears out the roof
Watkins is an audacious raconteur of the highest order. A history lesson and political galvanising that takes his faux documentary styling into Brechtian territory. It's hard to say whether this is his magnum opus, but it's easy to say he is one of the most underrated, under-the-radar auteurs of all time.
An astonishing film by politically astute director Peter Watkins. Inspirational and informative filmmaking. Watkins' decision to allow his actors to develop their own characters really paid dividends as each individual's motivation becomes clear to the audience and their passion becomes almost overpowering thus inevitably influencing the viewer and forcing them to think for themselves. Vive la commune!
A masterpiece about the interplay of community (here, the pitfalls of communitarianism) and techné. Whether it is Haussmannian "modernization", broad streets repellent to barricades, Thiers' ability to easily crush the communards, or the reduction of repression to an historic inevitability... Watkins never allows apparent teleology (or his own peerless historic knowledge) to infect his narrative.
"What kind of revolution really would work? What would a successful communist society really look like?"
"I don't think Peter Watkins even knows."