[identity profile] maelicia.livejournal.com
Delays, delays, delays... As promised, here it finally comes! It took forever to prepare these three posts (you have no idea, really), and you’re soon about to find out why: 26 single-spaced pages in Times New Roman, 12 pts, and more than 10 000 words for the essay; 14 single-spaced pages in Times New Roman, 12 pts, and more than 7000 words for the appendix of quotes (original French and translated)... Considering how long it is, it’s been split in three different posts (sorry for the spamming!).

Many, many, many thanks to [livejournal.com profile] estellacat who helped, re-read, corrected (I speak French – this is the first essay I ever write in English), checked back the quotes and extracts, translated most dialogue from La Terreur et la Vertu in English, which I had typed in French while listening the film, and all the quotes from Saint-Just’s writings. It had to be perfect – because Saint-Just is worth it. This essay was written in two days (first time I ever write so much that fast as well!) and during a very, very long night (I believe I went to bed at 7am, after typing all those quotes from Saint-Just’s writings). Took a week to get the final results you're now soon about to read. Two or three parts were added and re-worked after my extended comments with [livejournal.com profile] victoriavandal and Sibylla as can be read here (that thread inspired me).

NOTE 1: My thoughts on La Terreur et la Vertu in the final paragraph were written before I find a link online to the second film. Hence my joy when I did.

NOTE 2: I overlooked Saint-Just’s physical appearance in the docudrama: for example, the fact that they gave him an emo haircut (!!!) when it wouldn’t have been so complicated to curl up his hair a bit and cut them accurately – nobody had bangs like that in the 18th century! In fact, it’s far for being an innocent choice. Like [livejournal.com profile] trf_chan points out in her review, this docudrama aims at speaking to the younger generation of today through this particular Saint-Just. Exactly like Mona Ozouf is speaking to our present hedonistic world through the libertine idealization, they are speaking to our present younger generation by making him look like one of us: this blending of the past and present is a proof even more striking of this “documentary”’s nature as propaganda.


“Thank God I’m pretty, every skill I ever have will be in question…”
Emilie Autumn – Thank God I’m Pretty

On the (mis)representation of Saint-Just in Terror! Robespierre and the French Revolution.

I am responding to what will soon be unleashed through the English-speaking world: the horrible after-effects of the BBC program Terror! Robespierre and the French Revolution. I am “partial”, no need to tell you this. Usually, considering the subject of my studies, I would probably prefer to focus on the mess they made of the representation of Robespierre. Yet, at the risk of disappointing, I will say that this type of misrepresentation (the whole “Robespierre = Stalin, Mao, Castro, Hitler, Khomeini” package-deal that makes no logical sense) is nothing new, and therefore it is not necessary to make it the center of our critique, though surely we will find many opportunities – here or elsewhere – to attack it anyway.

It is the misrepresentation of Saint-Just in this 90-min. program that I would like to attack here. Those who read my direct “as I watched it,” not-very-scientific critique of it on my journal will know that I lost my calm and presence of mind over it. It shocked me, precisely because most people would probably gloss over it and all the hidden meanings behind it: they would ignore it or dismiss its consequences. Moreover, because people, in this type of scenario, always have the same thing to say in response: “Yes, but he’s pretty and pouty!” As you can read here, the aftereffects have already started to appear. I know this type of reply: I was there once; I said it about Christopher Thompson’s interpretation of Saint-Just in La Révolution française: les Années terribles, and I know how damaging it is. This essay is a testimony to my own past: I was there three years ago; I won’t go back.

The type of Saint-Just played here by the actor George Maguire is in the same vein as Christopher Thompson’s. (He seems to have been cast from the same mould.) Which is to say, twenty years after the Bicentennial of the French Revolution, we’re still there, that we haven’t progressed at all. Even, it’s worse than ever.

Read the manifesto.

I. Saint-Just's 'Puritanism' )

II. Saint-Just the 'schoolboy' )

III. Saint-Just and Carnot )

[identity profile] trf-chan.livejournal.com
Hullo boys and girls.

This is my attempt to seriously present my comments and criticism of the recent BBC program Terror! Robespierre and the French Revolution without resorting (much) to swearing and snarling, hard as that proved to be. [livejournal.com profile] maelicia asked me to post it here, so...

...here we go! )
[identity profile] bettylabamba.livejournal.com
The Black Book/Reign of Terror has to be the campiest fucking movie ever made about the French Revolution. Start the Revolution Without Me comes close, but that movie was intentionally hilarious. The current discussion reminded me that I had an essay just rotting away on my hard drive about the production of B.B/R.o.T. This should clear up exactly why this movie was so bad it's bad/so bad it's good. Don't ask me were I found it, because I don't remember. Please excuse the formatting errors; I just copied and pasted the entire gawdamn thing from a word doc.

You can view the movie here for free if you've never seen it (and have an hour and change to waste). Oh, and please do refrain from kicking the nearest kitten. Thanks.

Hollywood History and the French Revolution: From The Bastille to The Black Book


For through this blessed July night, there is clangour, confusion very great . . .

-- Thomas Carlyle, The French Revolution

FROM THE INITIAL CONCEPT TO THE PREmiere screening, a Hollywood film goes through a process influenced by financial pressures, social forces, and personal wills in which the shifts from cooperation to conflict constitute a drama often more revealing than the film itself. Though commanding figures such as Charles Chaplin, David O. Selznick, or John Ford have, at times, displayed the authority of an author, many films fail to express a unified and coherent view that can be attributed to a particular filmmaker. In such a case, understanding may be fostered not by looking to a single guiding presence but to the tensions that arose during the production. These difficulties may illustrate the social nature of Hollywood filmmaking and bear witness to forces at work within the industry and in society at large. The production of Reign of Terror ( 1949 ) is such a case. In the summers of 1794 and 1948 the fall of Robespierre was contemplated, first in Paris and later in Hollywood. Little seems to link the events, though if we can trust Carlyle, both periods were marked by confusion and uncertainty. Upon examination there should be little doubt that Hollywood's meditation upon Robespierre reveals more about its own time than about the course of the French Revolution.
Read more... )
[identity profile] asako-michiru.livejournal.com
Yep, I'm new, and nearly imploding from joy at finding this community. =) I love the French Revolution, and hero-worship Robespierre, whom I've been drawn to more and more since I first studied him a year ago in my tenth grade history course. So, when in my recently passed Junior year, I was given the topic "Triumph and Tragedy" for my National History Day project I simply HAD to write about the Reign of Terror. I didn't make it passed regionals, which I think is because the judge of my paper didn't understand my points/the fact that I wrote it unlike how THEY would have, but I'm proud of this and put alot of effort into it and thought I'd share. I hope everyone enjoys it, even if they know almost everything in it, but I caution you that it is lengthy and my internal citations are left in due to sheer laziness on my part. :D

The Reign of Terror: The Tragedy Masking Triumph )
Feel free to add anything to this you'd like-- I enjoy learning more, and it is sort of sketchy due to word limit. :)


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