French Revolution The film Danton takes a look at the end of the French Revolution. To me, many of the scenes seemed to be saying that the Revolution itself was hypocritical. There are numerous examples in the film where leading figures of the Revolution were taking action that was similar to what they had originally rebelled. An example of this would be Dantons trial and how it was rigged to get a guilty verdict. At the trial, there were strict rules and regulations.
The accused could not speak to the public or to their accusers. Reporters could not take notes and tell the public what was happening. It seemed to me when I was watching the film that the Committee was trying to control everything that was going on. They didnt care about the truth or whether Danton was guilty or not, they only wanted any possible form of resistance to be crushed. The way they imposed those restrictions reminded me of an absolute king trying to crush revolutionaries. The makers of the film were pointing out here how the Revolution was hypocritical in its policies.
When Robespierre ordered Dantons arrest, he was saying in no uncertain terms that it doesnt matter what the people want, just what those in charge want. Another example is the opening scene, when the child was being bathed. He was quizzed on the Declaration of the rights of Man and Citizen. Every time he misquoted the document, he was slapped. This is an extraordinary point that the filmmaker is making on the Revolution and its effects. The child is being oppressed from birth with the ideas of change that were supposed to free people from oppression. The ideas and beliefs of the Revolution are being thrusted on this child without him being allowed to decide for himself what beliefs he wants to follow.
Also, it is showing right away that those in charge want it their way, and no other. When he got a few words wrong, or didnt remember them at all, he got slapped. Meaning that if the people dont agree with us, or follow us, then those in charge will retaliate. What they did to Danton is an example of that. He wanted the revolution to succeed, just not the way the Committee wanted, so they had him killed.
This proves how the filmmaker believed the Revolution was hypocritical. The Committee wanted change, but they wanted it to be ongoing, where Danton wanted quick change in one shot, and for it to end. So, instead of working out the problems they were having, the more powerful Committee had Danton killed to stop him from taking over. It shows how the Committee acted like a king putting down a rebellion. The Committee didnt even care that the people were ready to openly revolt against them because they loved Danton so much. Robespierre proved it when he said, When the republic is at stake, we can do anything.
Im sure there was a king somewhere who said the same thing about his Monarchy. Robespierre even resembled a king when he dressed up for the portrait. The robe and scepter along with the pose made him look as much as an absolute king as you can get. That is the image of the hypocrisy of the Revolution. A movement for change turned to be the same as it was before, only with different leaders.
The film says that the French Revolution wasnt as great as people think. It was a complete turnaround from absolutism under a king, to virtual absolutism under a democracy. Danton hit the nail on the head when he said, like Saturn, the Revolution has devoured its children. European History.