The new film “Napoleon” from the veteran of such hits as “Alien”, “Gladiator”, “The Fall of Black Hawk” by Ridley Scott premiered in Paris last week. French critics have met the new film coolly, Deadline reports.
Le Figaro newspaper wrote that the film could be called “Barbie and Ken in the Time of Empire,” the French version of GQ magazine called the film “unintentionally clumsy and unnatural,” and Le Point magazine, citing biographer Patrice Geniffi, called the film “very anti-French and pro-British.”
The director was not embarrassed by such characterizations, and he responded to the critics’ comments in his usual swaggering manner.
“The French don’t even like themselves. The audience to whom I showed the film in Paris loved it,” Scott said.
And to historians who doubt the accuracy of the scenes presented in the film, he replied, “Were you there? Oh, you weren’t there. Then how do you know?”
The film features six different but equally large-scale battle scenes. At the same time, it was shot in a record 61 days and timed at 2 hours and 38 minutes. Scott said he wanted to keep the duration under 3 hours.
He explained that he couldn’t resist telling Napoleon’s story.
“He’s so fascinating. Respected, hated, loved… more famous than any man, leader or politician in history,” the director opined.
Joaquin Phoenix, who embodied the screen persona of Napoleon, last worked with Scott 23 years ago in “Gladiator.”
“The studio didn’t want me to play me in ‘Gladiator.’ In fact, Ridley gave me an ultimatum and fought for me and it was just an extraordinary experience,” Phoenix recalls gratefully.
The film portrays the story of Bonaparte’s difficult path to power through the lens of his volatile relationship with his one true love, Josephine, played by Vanessa Kirby.
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