The film “Danton” Directed by Andrzej Wajda

This is one of the best films I have ever seen, Danton is played by Gerard Depardieu and Robespierre by Wojciech Pszoniak in a Polish / French coproduction in the French language. It shows what it was like to work at the EDCL from 1978 to 1983 (Autobiography Volume Two). There is one famous scene where Robespierre pays a visit on Danton, who prepares a lavish meal. Robespierre refuses to eat anything and in the end Danton brushes all the fine food off the table on to the floor and flatly asks “Qu’esque-ce tu veux?” Robespierre wanted Danton to join the hated Committee and its secret police, and when the latter refused, he was guillotined after a show trial. I first saw the film as a post doctoral at Aberystwyth. Within a year, Robespierre was also guillotined after no trial at all. The Committee reminds me of the anonymous censors of wikipedia, already forgotten by history. The French Revolution cost a quarter of a million lives, and the Napoleonic dictatorship many more. The American Revolutionary War cost about fifty thousand lives on both sides but did not end in a Terror. There is a better way of settling disagreements.


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