Napoleon: what if we worried about the heroization of a bloodthirsty person instead of laughing at historical errors?

Faced with the first cold fallout on Napoleon, Ridley Scott did not hide his annoyance, replying resoundingly that “The French don’t even like themselves. » But if critics were amused by the film’s historical inconsistencies, we can above all wonder about the ideological implications of a feature film that transforms a real-life murderer into an imaginary romantic hero.

On the eve of its release in theaters this Wednesday, November 22, Napoleon received a welcome like glacial among French film critics.

The French don’t even like themselves »: why doesn’t he like Napoleon?

Ridley Scott seems to have great difficulty accepting this reception. The 80-year-old director has put an end to the debate about the quality of his film and his historical fantasies.

In an interview on BBC on November 19, the director finally made his decision with an argument as contemptuous as it was surprising, launching: “The French don’t even like themselves. » One way, no doubt, to put it the French should be proud of their history, supposedly embodied by Napoleoninstead of laughing at the latter’s portrayal in the film.

Napoleon // Source: Apple
Napoleon // Source: Apple

An “unintentionally funny” film.

In the columns of Figarowe deplore a film “neither revolutionary nor imperial”. We are also surprised by the rewrites made by Ridley Scott whose film seems to only tell a love story: “Napoleon’s decisions, ambition and destiny would have a unique cause, independent of his time, and this unique cause would be his love, absolute and possessive, for Joséphine” ; “Historians had never thought about it”the newspaper quips.

From the part of GQLet’s see what’s there “something fundamentally clumsy, adulterated and unintentionally funny” see a film about France “stripped of his tongue”citing the example of a scene in which Napoleon’s army sings “Long live France” with an American accent.

Napoleon // Source: Apple

Historical freedoms are not innocently ridiculous: they reveal weighty ideological implications

When asked about the historical inconsistencies of his film by BBCRidley Scott simply evaded the question: “Do you really want me to answer?” It’s better if I don’t, I might be rude. »

However, if most critics enjoy the historical fantasies imagined by the director Napoleon, we are surprised that the problematic dimension of these rewritings is not further questioned.

After all, a director is completely free to write a film that he is content to be freely inspired of real events (thus clarifying that the film is not a biopic). In reality the criticism that should be addressed Napoleon I’d rather see a dictator bloody having re-established slavery depicted as a hero of romantic fiction.

To make a great historical action and romantic film, for example, it would have been nice to imagine a purely fictional character with another name. Instead, Ridley Scott borrows from history and therefore, maintains an extremely ambiguous representation of a man whose crimes are still the subject of silence in France. The director may have produced 2h30 (and even 4h30 for the long version of the film) of images of Napoleon: we are still waiting for the film that will shatter the myth linked to a bloody dictator having contributed to making racism an institution that continues to structure the world.

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Source: Madmoizelle

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