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October 2015 Movie of the Month – The French Revolution

October is all about the Three Musketeers.  There have been numerous movies made about this tumultuous time in France’s history, and some of them have become some incredibly popular films.  Each filmmaker seems to approach the story from a different angle – politics, war, romance, action/adventure…  I think you’ll be able to find at least one French Revolution story that works for you.

You can choose any of the many French Revolution films.  Some are better than others, and I suppose that depends on your personal tastes, so choose one that you think you’ll enjoy.

  • The Scarlet Pimpernel is a fun, action story (with some comedy, too) that tells the story of an Englishman who acts like a superhero, saving French aristocrats from the guillotine during the French Revolution.  The Pimpernels is the superhero who was Batman long before Batman existed.  It’s a fun way to look at the revolution, full of sword fights and daring deeds.
  • Back in 2006, filmmaker Sophia Coppola made a modern day take on the story of French queen, Marie Antoinette.  If you like quirky, outside the box style movies, this may be the one for you.  It doesn’t tell you the story of the French Revolution, but instead looks at what led up to it.
  • For a look at what impact America had on the French Revolution (spoiler alert: it was pretty big), check out Jefferson in Paris.  During the French Revolution, Thomas Jefferson was the American ambassador to France, and had a lot to say about the aristocracy and their ways.
  • Based on the Charles Dickens’ novel of the same name, A Tale of Two Cities is the story of honor, love, and sacrifice.  Considered one of the greatest novels ever written, this is a worthy adaptation and a very insightful movie.
  • Finally, you could check out Danton, a closer look at one of the leaders of the Revolution, Georges Danton.
  • If you’d prefer, watch some documentaries and/or YouTube videos about the French Revolution, the time period the story was set in, the people involved, or anything else related to this topic.

To participate in the October Movie of the Month conversation, use the comments section below to add your thoughts to the discussion.  Make sure you do the following things:

  1. Start off by telling the group which movie you watched.
  2. Tell us what you thought of the movie, and why.
  3. Most importantly, tell us what you learned that you think will help you be better prepared for our trip to France.

Then, come back often to share ideas, ask questions, or gain insight from your fellow travelers.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. maya thomas permalink
    October 12, 2015 2:20 pm

    For October’s movie of the month I choose Marie Antoinette. I thought that the movie was good because it allowed me to see daily the life of a french queen, it also allowed me to see royalty’s attire and lifestyle , the soundtrack also made it very interesting. The costumes led me to see how upper class people in the 1700’s dressed. Women would have big hair because it was a such a trend when Marie Antoinette arrived at the french court, she enjoyed having her hair piled up to three feet above her head. The ladies of the french court would wear tight corsets and wide skirts. For men their hair would be braided or tied in the back. They would wear things such as a shirt, stockings, garters, breeches,waistcoat and a kerchief. I think this movie would better my trip because it let me see the type of food french people eat such as in the movie it seemed like they would drink a lot of wine and eat things like eating things like Steak Tartare for dinner. Another thing that can better my trip is where Marie Antoinette lived because she lived in the Petit Trianon it allowed me to see similar things that would be in the building.

  2. Joy Padua permalink
    November 8, 2015 4:52 pm

    I apologize being a little overdue, but for October’s movie of the month, I choose to watch A Tale of Two Cities (1935) based of the Charles Dicken’s novel. It was absolutely amazing. Honestly, I’m not one for black and white movies but the story was very interesting and easy to follow. I couldn’t stop watching. I can now understand why A Tale of Two Cities is very popular title of literature. From this movie, I discovered more details about why the French Revolution happened and how people were treated during it. French aristocrats were very high up in the social ladder and lived meaningful lives. The peasants on the other hand were the exact opposite, taxes were high, people didn’t have any food, and they were treated like animals. Being treated unfair, it stared the uprising and the tables were turned from there. From this story, the characters undergo through many of these events. In my personal opinion, my favorite characters were Lucy and Sydney for their amazing character development. I also learned that France and Britain are very acquainted with each other as countries. For better or for worse. Knowing the history behind the country we’re visiting gives me the chance to reflect on how much time has passed and how much each country has developed and changed since then and if some things still remain the same.

  3. Jasmin Zielinski permalink
    December 31, 2015 9:31 am

    I watched an additional movie. I’ll type my response here. I watched an extra movie to prepare myself for our trip. I watched the rest of Saving Private Ryan, the D-Day movie we saw in our November meeting. The rest of it was just as graphic and brutal as the beginning. I surprisingly liked this movie. I usually don’t like really violent movies, but this was the truth. I liked this movie so much because it was real. It wasn’t modified by Hollywood and fake, but it showed what really happened at D-Day and so forth in World War II. My experience will be better in France because of this movie. It showed me how much dedication one person can have, much less a whole group when they’re really passionate about something. When someone has true passion, they’ll do anything. This is very important to know. When someone is dedicated to making something succeed, they will see it through, like Captain Miller did. He died to carry out his mission. Everyone has this kind of dedication in them somewhere, and we need to remember this as we’re traveling. We may just be there visiting, but so many more people call that place home, and are willing to die trying to protect it.

  4. Hannah Jackson permalink
    January 2, 2016 6:15 pm

    I watched a Tale of Two Cities, the version created in 1980. I liked the movie, it was interesting to learn about the French Revolution from that perspective. I have a lot to say about this movie, because I learned a lot from it about French culture and history. For the first half of the movie it was hard to tell where the story was going and where the French Revolution fit into it. Finally I understood the movie and learned a lot while being entertained with the side stories of drama and love.
    The culture back then had much of the same aspects as today, such as weddings. Many parts were very different though and it was interesting to see how they used to live back then. What was most interesting was to see how Paris was a large city even back then, but in a much different way. The countryside around it was pretty vacant only with dirt roads traveled by horses and carriages. This illustrated well how much different life was. It was very funny how back then on a date they needed a chaperone. The old lady chaperone with the bell was so funny and made things so awkward for the characters.
    I also enjoyed seeing familiar scenes and buildings from Paris that we will be seeing and learning about. It was interesting to see how life worked around those scenes. An example of this is in the square in which they conduct hangings and the many times that the Notre Dame Cathedral was in the background.
    I was also interested by the love aspect in the movie and how it influenced the loyalty and sacrifice of the characters when fighting against the French Republic. The romance aspect was the main storyline with the Revolution as the background and that led much of the sacrifice and devotion involved in the story.
    During the action scenes it was interesting to see the bravery of the towns people fighting against the government. Even the women took part in the revolution. The story also did a great job depicting how the citizens of the French Republic felt during the Revolution. Many of the citizens acted crazy like in Madame Thérèse Defarge. Her actions were unjust and unnecessary. Especially when she said they should imprison the young daughter of Charles Darnay. These ideas were outrageous and evil. Feelings I assume many felt during the revolution.
    Charles Darnay returning to Paris was a great example of how higher class citizens, like Aristocrats were treated during the French Revolution. The outraged citizens treated the rich horribly as they were mad for how the rich had treated them for so long. The story also depicts some of English influence during the French Revolution. Although it had a very small impact, the story showed how those devoted to one man, Charles Darnay, fought for his freedom against those who took him on unjust terms. There was even more love and sacrifice symbolized when Sydney Carton took Charles Darnay’s place in the prison and execution and helped him escape. That was honorable.
    The ending was horrible though!!! I did not like it. It was so sudden just stopping, nothing happy to wrap it up. I wanted to see that the others had made it out safe after the sacrifice that was made in the last scene.
    Much of this learned history and culture will be very helpful on our trip and has helped me tremendously understand more that will be useful for the trip. It is important to know what the French Revolution was and how it affected the citizens of France, and even some from England. It is a classic and important story to know that have me a better understanding of the French Revolution. This movie was a great source to learn this information and it was also very entertaining.

  5. Jasmin Zielinski permalink
    January 31, 2016 6:39 pm

    I watched another additional movie. It is really a miniseries, and it’s called Band of Brothers. It follows an American paratrooper company through WWII. I really liked this series. It was put together really well and looked realistic. I especially liked how WWII veterans spoke at the beginning of each episode. This series was so long however, that I’m breaking it up into 3 different parts. Part 1 is about the company going through training, dropping on D-Day and struggling to find each other and the other units after D-Day. This taught me how people will make sacrifices to save what they love. Many men put themselves in danger trying to save their friends. For example, one man took a bullet while dragging his injured friend to a medic. This will help me on the trip because now I know that lots of people we meet will have the same spirit and drive that the soldiers from WWII did.

  6. Caitlyn Dixon permalink
    February 15, 2016 1:34 pm

    I watched Les Miserables with Anne Hathaway and I really loved the movie and the music. Since MCHS is doing Les Miserables for the musical, I understand the history and the story better than before. I thought the movie was fantastic and how Jean Valjean gave everything up to save Cosette. I also liked the scenery (even though it is in France), like when Javert was singing ‘Stars’ we saw Norte Dame. So when we go and see Notre Dame, I’m going try and look for the ledge he was standing on. I learned a lot with how the peasants’ were treated and how bad life was for them. They kept fighting even thought the barricade was attacked three times and they knew they were going to die, but they wanted to die for freedom. When Gavroche was singing his song ‘Little People’ it really showed me how mad the lower class was at the richer people. They were attacking the higher class’s carriages and yelling at them. I liked the fact that some of the women also helped in the rebellion like the lady making the flag and Eponine fighting with them as a man in disguise. It was over all a great movie and it made me want to start reading Victor Hugo’s book. I would recommend this to anybody and everybody.

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