Peter Watkins' La Commune (Paris, 1871) French dialog with hardsub English translation
La Commune Part 1
LA commune Part 2
The Universal Clock in English with hardsub French translation.
The torrent is given in compact form for easy download.
The Universal Clock Run time: 1:16
La Commune Part 1 Run time: 2:44:22
La Commune Part 2 Run time: 3:01:29
The Univeral Clock (notes below) is a documentary about the making of La Commune and it's significance. For this reason it should be viewed first.
In brief, La Commune is a collective re-enactment of the Paris Commune of 1871.
Over 200 hundred non and semi professional actors who performed the five hour re-enactment in 13 days. Many details are given about this extraordinary achievement in The Universal Clock.
"La Commune" is recorded in black and white and features contemporary media in the
form of 'State' and "Commune TV' broadcasts in which the reporters take on roles in the re-enactment.
The significance of "La Commune" is its multi-layered narrative of the historical event and also how the production influenced the actors. The actors did their own research. The dialog, aside from historical readings, is improvised. And the actors tell of how they have learned their own history as a result of the experience.
An important element in Watkins' work is refusal to use familiar television and Hollywood standard devices. The film is longer by design to allow for various deliberations by the actors as the re-enactment progresses.
The Universal Clock (2000)
by Geoff Bowie
National Film Board of Canada
Runtime: 1:16:27 621mb
"The Universal Clock" is a documentary which accompanies the boxed dvd set of
Peter Watkins' "La Commune (Paris, 1871)." The author of The Universal Clock (UC)
takes us through both the production process of La Commune and the commercial barriers to having Watkins' re-creation of the Paris Commune shown after it was created.
The Universal Clock refers to the standardization of video content on the
47 minute model (with commercial and public service announcements taking up
the balance of the time.) Watkins calls this the 'monoform' and is shown describing his concept.
In documenting the process of making "La Commune" UC has interviews with members of the cast who were non-professionals participating in this group project. These Parisians and immigrants talk about how being a part of the performance changed the way they view themselves and the media around them.
More discussion of "La Commune" can be found here:
and especially in Peter Watkins' notes here:
Other works available about non-standard theater performance are
Signals Through The Flames.
These pieces show the relevance of performance experimentation from the past
and the present.
Watkins has brought a new form of television making into being with "La Commune."
But there is reference to the concept of modern media reporting on historic events
as far back as the 1940's. "You Are There" used the technique first on broadcast radio on the CBS network. The noted filmmaker John Frankenheimer brought "You Are There" to television and it ran for 4 years on the network. Such directors as Sidney Lumet did episodes of "You Are There" before they began their formal film careers. "You Are There" is available on dvd media.
All these works are teaching tools for experimental theater and media production.
Notes written September 29, 2008
Sep 29, 2008, 16:37:32
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