All of Peter Watkins films are events. When he tackles such a mythical moment of French and world history as the Commune (Paris, 1871), Watkins provokes, disturbs, jostles. The story, based on a thorough historical research, leads to an inevitable reflection about the present.
We are in the year 1871. A journalist for Versailles Television broadcasts a soothing and official view of events while a Commune television is set up to provide the perspectives of the Paris rebels. On a stage-like set, more than 200 actors interpret characters of the Commune, especially the Popincourt neighbourhood in the XIth arrondissement. They voice their own thoughts and feelings concerning the social and political reforms. The scenes consist mainly of long camera takes.
For Peter Watkins, to make a film is to question his own work as a filmmaker. La Commune represents an uncompromising challenge to modern media and a penetrating critique.
In French with English subtitles.
2000, 345 min
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