In his finally observed historical drama, Andrzej Wajda traces the clash of personality and ideology between two of the French Revolution’s most significant figures – Georges Danton and Maximilien Robespierre.
Set in the second year of the French Revolution, the film recounts how opportunist, bon vivant and man of the people, Danton, becomes the focus of Robespierre’s increasing paranoia for his outspoken criticism of the Terror. The film is an examination of a fatal clash of philosophy, character and methods. Starring Gérard Depardieu as Danton and Polish actor Wojciech Pszoniak as Robespierre, it is gorgeously lensed by cinematographer Igor Luther. The screenplay is co-written by Jean-Calude Carrière and Agniezska Holland.
Carrying potent political resonances with Polish “solidarity” – a movement repressed by the Polish government at the time of production – the film was intended to be shot in Poland, but with the imposition of martial law in 1981, this became impossible and the film was shot in France.
“…the finest philosophical film this side of A Man of All Seasons, Danton is Wajda’s masterwork, second only to Ashes and Diamonds.”
Kino Klassika is proud to present this screening with an introduction by Academy Award winning screenwriter Christopher Hampton.
Prof Ian Christie
Ian Christie is Anniversary Professor of Film and Media History at Birkbeck College and a Fellow of the British Academy. He is the co-curator of our exhibition at GRAD Unexpected Eisenstein. He co-curated Eisenstein: His Life and Art (Oxford Museum of Modern Art/Hayward Gallery, 1988). Ian also co-edited Eisenstein Rediscovered (1993) and The Film Factory: Russian and Soviet Cinema in Documents, 1896-1939 (1988). He is the author of monographs on Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger and Martin Scorsese.