SJ by Wajda and Przybyszewska

Adella 2022-07-06 21:11:27

No logic at all. As a viewer who likes this movie and Shengju at the same time, the viewing experience is really fine.


Polish director Andrzej Wajda made a legal-revolutionary film "Dandong" in 1983, about the conflict between Dandong and the National Salvation Committee around April 1794. The film is based on the play "The Danton Case" written by Polish playwright Stanislawa Przybyszewska in 1928. Robespierre is Przybyszewska's tragic protagonist, a visionary but powerless Cassandra. In the eyes of ordinary people, the war between CSP and Dandong is just an ordinary faction. And in the eyes of the bitter philosopher, it was a lost war: a victory in Dandong would destroy the revolution, and a defeat in Dandong would destroy the principles of the revolution. He tried to avoid war to no avail, and had no choice but to save the revolution by destroying it. Years later, when the script was adapted into a film, Wajda, who was impressed by the current situation in Poland, was obviously not interested in drinking. Wajda does not intend to show the tragedy of Robespierre - on the contrary, the film shows the tragedy of Danton - an idealist's struggle against power and destruction. The movie gives Danton a fair amount of sympathy—even his flaws, one of the people behind his fall, are shown as the true nature of a human being. In order to complete the tragedy of Dandong, Robespierre, the protagonist of the tragedy written by the original author, has naturally become the embodiment of the concept of dictatorship.

Despite the split between the text and the film, the main characters have not changed much—Dandong in the film just added elements of the times on the basis of the original book, and Robespierre under the camera still remains in melancholy and contemplation. With Przybyszewska's nicks, Desmoulins is still childish and persistent, Lucille is brave and innocent - with one exception, Saint-Just.

In The Danton Case, Saint-Just has a very special relationship with Robespierre. As far as Robespierre is concerned, Danton is a conflicter of political ideas, Desmoulins is a conflicter of personal feelings, and Saint-Just is a friend who can be trusted without reservation. Robespierre does not He will discuss the future of the revolution with Desmoulins, and he will not confide in the rest of CSP about his changes in his feelings for Danton, but he will discuss the immortality of the soul and the situation on the front line with St. Just during his illness, and he will fail to reconcile with Danton. Then he confided his anger and worries to the young man. This is not to say that Saint-Just is just a vague receiver, or object of conversation, he has his own independent point of view, he does not avoid disagreement, he argues with Robespierre, persuades the other or is persuaded.

Interestingly, Przybyszewska once wrote in a letter to a friend that there was some kind of "love" between Robespierre and Saint-Just, which was spiritual, not erotic. Przybyszewska doesn't mean to express "love" deliberately, but there are still some glimpses in the text: the dialogue in the CSP is rattling, the old friends who have broken up are cold and mean, when every word needs to be carefully worded, these two friends Making fun of each other, praising each other, and caring about each other is undoubtedly a bright spot.

However, under the lens of Wajda, the madness of this character's change, and the madness of the character itself, are surprising. At the beginning of the movie, Saint-Just rushed into Robespierre's bedroom with a bouquet of flowers, provoked the relationship between Danton Desmoulins and CSP, and instigated Robespierre to execute Desmoulins. Until he was brought to court in Dandong, St. Just was persistent and unmotivated to demand the destruction of the Dandong faction. After Danton was executed, Saint-Just came to Robespierre, who was ill and delirious, and suggested that he be the dictator of the government. It's puzzling that Saint-Just's instigation has largely had no substantial impetus to the plot (Robespierre's final decision to arrest Danton had nothing to do with Saint-Just), even though the character is considered more of a Land as some kind of symbol - such as the mad national will - also cannot be justified. Closing newspapers, arresting journalists, manipulating trials, and suppressing the National Convention had nothing to do with St. Just, on the contrary, St. Just displayed the rudeness and violence of uncivilized savages in the film: for example, tearing up in the street and accusing the committee of The dictator's slogan, Robespierre beat the Speaker when he was speaking at the National Convention, tore up the Speaker's papers, etc. In addition, the interaction between Saint-Just and Robespierre is full of unnecessary ambiguity - maybe this is just the "love" that Wajda understands by Przybyszewska, maybe Wajda is trying to use homosexuality to imply some kind of perversion and evil. Even if Homophobia can be attributed to the so-called limitations of the times, it is obviously not a clever move to portray characters from such an angle. It's hard not to boil down to pure malice in the director's portrayal of Saint-Just.

It is true that everyone has their own way of interpreting history and art. Even if it is a real thing, art processing is not an exaggeration. But no matter what the purpose of art is, such an unscrupulous smear of a talented young man under the age of 27 who fought bloody battles for the Republic, to save the revolution and defend principles, is hardly a responsible interpretation. From a technical point of view, "Dandong" is a very good movie, but the portrayal of St. Just in the movie is not an exaggeration.

View more about Danton reviews

Extended Reading

Danton quotes

  • Danton: This is politics, not butchery. Use your heads.

  • Danton: I don't want power. I'm 35 and look 60. I'm tired. I'd like to quit. But first I must end the terror, because I'm partly to blame for it.