Noted filmmaker and media critic Peter Watkins directs this mammoth six-hour-long look at the legendary Paris Commune of 1871. Following the humiliating defeat of France in the Franco-Prussian War, the reign of Napoleon III collapsed in the resulting public foment.
While a new regime headed under the Government of National Defense tried to shore up power, a band of commoners took the reigns of power for themselves and created the Paris Commune, a government defiantly separate from the state operating under a sort of proto-Marxist ethos. Inevitably, the Commune was brutally suppressed by French troops.
Watkins' treatment of the event juxtaposes the present with the past -- modern day CNN-style reporting with historical fact. This film was screened at the 2001 Toronto Film Festival.