La Commune (Paris, 1871)

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La commune (Paris, 1871)
Directed by Peter Watkins
Written by Agathe Bluysen
Peter Watkins
Cinematography Odd-Geir Sæther
Edited by Agathe Bluysen
Patrick Watkins
Peter Watkins
Release dates
26 May 2000 (TV premiere)
United States:
3 July 2003
7 November 2007
Running time
345 min.
220 min. (theatrical cut)
Country France
Language French

La Commune (Paris, 1871) is a 2000 historical drama film directed by Peter Watkins about the Paris Commune. It is a historical re-enactment in the style of a documentary, and was shot in just 13 days in an abandoned factory on the outskirts of Paris. The large cast is mainly non-professional, including many immigrants from North Africa, and they did much of their own research for the project.

As Watkins says, "The Paris Commune has always been severely marginalized by the French education system, despite - or perhaps because - it is a key event in the history of the European working class, and when we first met, most of the cast admitted that they knew little or nothing about the subject. It was very important that the people become directly involved in our research on the Paris Commune, thereby gaining an experiential process in analyzing those aspects of the current French system which are failing in their responsibility to provide citizens with a truly democratic and participatory process."[1]

Like many of Watkins' later films, it is quite lengthy - a long cut runs 5 hours and 45 minutes, though the more common version is 3 and a half hours long. The long version is available on DVD.

The making of La Commune was documented in the 2001 National Film Board of Canada film The Universal Clock: The Resistance of Peter Watkins, directed by Geoff Bowie.[1][2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bowie, Geoff. "The Universal Clock -The Resistance of Peter Watkins". Online film. National Film Board of Canada. Retrieved 22 November 2011. 
  2. ^ Begoray, Deborah L. (11 April 2003). "The Universal Clock: The Resistance of Peter Watkins". Canadian Materials (Manitoba Library Association) IX (16). Retrieved 22 November 2011. 


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