Dismayed by the authoritarian dictates of new French leader Robespierre (Pszoniak), former revolutionary and popular orator Danton (Depardieu) returns to Paris from the countryside in 1793 to confront his close friend and onetime compatriot. As Danton ramps up his rhetoric to the French commoners, calling on them to challenge Robespierre’s violent ‘Reign of Terror,’ the autocrat hatches a plan to capture and execute Danton and his supporters.
Having fled communist rule in Poland in 1982, Wajda found a creative outlet for his own sense of outrage in exile, directing this captivating political drama about the abuses of leadership in post-revolutionary France. In one of his finest on-screen performances, Depardieu gives “Danton" a magnetism and moral gravity that quite convincingly reflects the courageous, historic efforts of Lech Walesa and the Solidarity movement to overcome oppression in Wajda’s homeland. It is a sterling tragedy, directed with passion and commitment by one of Europe’s greatest film artists.