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  • Post last modified:December 5, 2022

Danton

Gérard Depardieu. Photo: Gaumont

Paris, 1794; popular revolutionary leader Georges Danton (Gérard Depardieu) returns to the city and Maximilien Robespierre (Wojciech Pszoniak) ponders how to confront this threat to his Reign of Terror. What the French Socialist government (who partly sponsored it) hoped would be a tribute to the revolutionary ideals became in the hands of Andrzej Wajda a grim and cynical portrait of the final showdown between two giants of the period, shortly before both of them faced the guillotine. Much of the film depicts the trial against Danton, which turned into a public spectacle. Filled with angst, the film has a showy performance by Depardieu and a more chillingly controlled one by Pszoniak.


1983-France-Poland-West Germany. 136 min. Color. Produced by Margaret Ménégoz, Barbara Pec-Slesicka. Directed by Andrzej Wajda. Screenplay: Jean-Claude Carrière. Play: Stanislawa Przybyszewska (”The Danton Case”). Cast: Gérard Depardieu (Georges Danton), Wojciech Pszoniak (Maximilien Robespierre), Patrice Chéreau (Camille Desmoulins), Boguslaw Linda, Angela Winkler, Andrzej Seweryn.

Trivia: Wajda and Agnieszka Holland also contributed to the script.

BAFTA: Best Foreign Language Film. 

Last word: “People ask me if Danton represents Walesa and Robespierre the regime. It’s more complicated than that. The public saw a machine that destroyed its people out of fear of the future. They saw a situation where the struggle for power became a goal in itself.” (Wajda, Film Comment)


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