Danton. 1983. France/Poland/West Germany. Directed by Andrzej Wajda. Screenplay by Jean-Claude Carrière, based on the play by Stanislawa Przybyszewska. With Gérard Depardieu, Wojciech Pszoniak, Patrice Chéreau, Anne Alvaro. In French; English subtitles. 136 min.
Andrzej Wajda and Jean-Claude Carrière’s daring, and dashing, history of the Reign of Terror in revolutionary France pits Robespierre, the ruthless Jacobin, and Danton, the self-appointed populist, in an ideological clash between two forms of despotism: tyranny of the one, and of the many. The film’s contemporary relevance in 1983 did not go unnoticed, provoking cries of heresy among the embattled socialist left in France, and cries of heroic resistance within Poland’s Solidarity movement during martial law.
DCP courtesy Gaumont; courtesy Janus Films