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Check out these films, books & music related to Paris Commune!

By Corrie Glanville


The following films will be showing in the Bright Family Screening Room at ArtsEmerson in September. Check out the schedule here!

La Commune (Paris, 1871) (2000)

Directed by Peter Watkins, this docudrama is crafted as a historical re-enactment in the style of a documentary, which was shot in a mere 13 days in an abandoned factory on the outskirts of Paris. Using a mainly non-professional cast, many of whom knew nothing about the Commune, the actors did much of their own research for the massive project, which runs over five hours in its uncut version. In the spirit of the Commune, Watkins has said he wanted the actors “to reflect on the links between the events of the Commune and society today. In this way, we were asking the cast to contribute directly to the manner of telling their own history.”


Babette’s Feast (1987)

Winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, this jewel from Denmark is based on a short story by Isak Dinesen, who also wrote Out of Africa. When Babette, a refugee from the post-Paris Commune massacre arrives on the doorstep of two pious sisters in a Danish village, they take her in as a housekeeper where she works for many years. When Babette wins the lottery, the sisters assume she will return to Paris, but instead she cooks them a most remarkable feast that changes all of their lives.

The New Babylon (1929)

Though lesser known today than Sergei Eisenstein, film historians managed to rescue the brilliant, silent masterpiece The New Babylon in 1929 made by Soviet filmmakers Grigori Kozintsev and Leonid Trauberg. A revolutionary epic set during the Paris Commune of 1871, the story follows the encounter between a shop girl and a soldier and the tragic fate of two lovers separated by the barricades. With an original musical score written for it by Dimitri Shostakovich, this is a rare gem for the film lover.

Plus, don’t miss the screening on Friday, September 14 at 6PM…join producer of the restoration (and re-synchronized!) print Mark Pytel and Paris Commune creators Michael Friedman and Steven Cosson for a discussion after the film.

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