In an extraordinary cinematographic labour, Raphaël Meyssan adapted the three volumes of his eponymous graphic novel, for which he had collected hundreds of engravings in newspapers and books of the time. From this patient quest for archives – eight years of research – the graphic artist and director makes a unique film. We share the film below, which to our knowledge is not available in English.
The Paris Commune comes alive.
The Damned of the Commune immerse us in the Parisian revolution of 1871, with the words and images of the time. One hundred and fifty years after their publication, the engravings come to life. They are the only material in this animated film which shows the era as it saw itself.
We discover the Commune as seen from a woman’s perspective, through the testimony of Victorine, wholly and passionately committed to the revolution. We tremble with her, before the soldiers who prepare to shoot the crowd of Montmartre, March 18, 1871. We shake, at her side, in the midst of this people who proclaim the Commune in the forecourt of the Town Hall, March 28. We are outraged by this government taking refuge in Versailles which refuses to recognise the elections and bombs Paris. We are excited with these women who meet in the evening in occupied churches and call to defend the city and the revolution. We are stunned by the methodical massacres committed by the Versaillais during the Bloody Week. We are overwhelmed by these women and men who resisted to the end in the name of an ideal they believed to be greater than their own lives.
They had seventy-two days to turn history around. History has won them over. This film tells the story of the Communards, that of the damned of the Commune.
1h27, ARTE France – Cinétévé, 2021.
Directed by Raphaël Meyssan.
Screenplay by Raphaël Meyssan with the participation of Marc Herpoux.
With the voices of Yolande Moreau (Victorine) and Simon Abkarian (the narrator).
And the exceptional participation of Mathieu Amalric, Fanny Ardant, Charles Berling, Sandrine Bonnaire, André Dussollier, Anouk Grinberg, Arthur H, Félix Moati, François Morel, Denis Podalydès, Michel Vuillermoz and Jacques Weber.
Music by Yan Volsy and Pierre Caillet.
A production by Fabienne Servan Schreiber and Sandrine Manciet.
Les Damnés de la Commune, by Raphaël Meyssan …