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La Commune (Disc 1 of 2) back to product details

Major Misfire
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written by talltale November 11, 2006 - 4:10 PM PST
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful
It's a very odd feeling to be totally in-sync with a movie's political, economic and social viewpoint and yet find the film itself an abysmally stupid bore. LA COMMUNE (PARIS, 1871), which I had been looking forward to for what seems like ages, proved to be just such a misfire for this viewer. Instead of offering any kind of rounded characters, we get slogan-spouting cardboard figures. Worse, director/co-writer (with Agathe Bluysen) Peter Watkins had the smart-ass though idiotic idea of using faux TV-reporters to "cover" the characters and events--which turns the proceedings into as cheap and unenlightening a piece of satire as could be imagined. The very point of the 1871 time frame is that no such media--with immediate transmission of news events--existed, thus making what we see doubly dumb.

What initially appears somewhat amusing quickly turns silly and shoddy. I have to admit sitting dumbfounded as reams of exposition about the political, social and economic facts of the time were mouthed by the amateur cast Watkins had assembled (and then scrawled across the screen in lengthy written lessons). Hell, why not just settle in with a good history book? After about half the film had run its course, so had I. Perhaps something came together later on, but I seriously doubt it. According to the IMDB, the French version (555 minutes) was more than twice the length of the content on this DVD. I must conclude that the cutting by half destroyed some sense of veracity and life that was utterly missing from what I saw. Either that or those French are REALLY gluttons for punishment.

12345678910

(Average 5.08)
12 Votes
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