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Joaquin Phoenix as Napoleon Bonaparte in Ridley Scott's film "Napoleon" Image: YouTube/Sony Pictures

The Napoleon that Ridley Scott and Hollywood won’t let you see

By Marlene Daut

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Interesting stuff. Shamefully, I didn't know much of this story at all. Indeed, there is a much more edifying story to be made.

11 ( +13 / -2 )


What's interesting (and hardly surprising) is yet another woke JT guest contributor making zero mention of the fact that it all started with the Haiti Massacre of 1804, when Jean-Jacques Dessalines ordered the indiscriminate bloody massacre of all white Haitians, despite the majority of whom being openly in opposition to the rule of King Louis XIV and highly sympathetic to the anti-slavery movement.

Learn your real history folks, and then, for the nation that still worships Dessalines as some sort of noble hero, the utter calamity that is modern-day Haiti should come as no surprise.

8 ( +20 / -12 )

To clarify, the woke JT guest contributor I am referring to is Marlene Daut, not Moonraker.

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Learn your real history folks

Have you read a lot of the ‘real history’ about this?

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

Have you read a lot of the ‘real history’ about this?


How much?

1 ( +9 / -8 )

It is a movie. It is not a documentary. Somebody really likes to take things too seriously.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

They should have called it a Fiction about Napoleon!

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Napoleon is a fascinating historical character. Anyone responsible for the deaths of over 3,000,000 humans would have to be.

"Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely." While he was capable of genius, he was also capable of horrific acts of cruelty and miscalculation. There is much to study about the man, and the era. For me, one of the lessons is that no one person or institution should have absolute power. I am reminded of the rationale of the Allies for not attempting to kill the absolute dictator Hitler; his enormous tactical and strategic mistakes made it easier for the Allies to defeat Nazi Germany. With Napoleon, his refusal to make peace after conquering most of the Continent, and his invasion of Russia, doomed his reign.

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under the guise of a movie review the reader is faced with what the author' really wanted to deliver yes?

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yoshisan88Today  09:50 am JST

It is a movie. It is not a documentary. Somebody really likes to take things too seriously.

Napoleon had a short but very eventful life. It's impossible to include every aspect of it. There is no author. There was Scott and a screenwriter and they decided to look at and interpret certain aspects of his life. Key word being an interpretation; a simple concept that some can't seem to grasp. I'm not surprised that some 'critics' demand that they include the darker parts of his personality, namely racism because well.....that's the trendy thing to do nowadays.

PaulToday  10:45 am JST

*They should have called it a Fiction about Napoleon!*

Movies are fiction not documentaries. Even the ones that claim to be more accurate usually say, 'Based on a true story' and always include artistic license. If you get your history from movies, you will embarrass yourself.

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under the guise of a movie review the reader is faced with what the author' really wanted to deliver yes?

Not really; the author is submitting that the movie might have been better if it included the efforts by Napoleon to reintroduce black slavery to French West Indies. And the author doesn't disguise it.

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I certainly don't go to the movies to watch a film about Napoleon, only to see that it is a film about his predilection for slavery. I go to see the French and British armies fight it out with muskets and cannon. For that there are books. Thankfully the writer of this column does not make movies, while Ridley Scott is a well-known director of movies that make money.

I'm just so tired of people whining about history and how famous figures were evil, wrong, racist...take your pick. Remember that great men are almost always bad men.

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"The Conversation is an independent and nonprofit source of news, analysis and commentary from academic experts."

Yet checking the academic backgrounds of these "experts" shows very few academic degrees.

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Woke article.

Every historian agrees that Napoleon based his life on strategy. He used slavery as a lever for his power and was thinking like most of his time. There were Black generals in his army until the 2004 event of total brutal mass massacre of the Whites (except doctors, physicians).

"Only" 20,000 endured going into slavery during his reign compare to a million before and 60,000 after until 1848 when it was abolished for good.

2,000 Blacks were living in France as French citizens in 2008.


-3 ( +4 / -7 )

A quality article on the French sociopath. Kudos to JT. C.L.R. James's 1938 classic, "The Black Jacobins" is the text to recommend for a deep dive into the heroic African resistance to French occupation.

As Louverture wasted away in a French prison, Bonaparte refused to put Louverture on trial. Throughout his incarceration, the guards at the jail denied Louverture food, water, heat and medical care. Louverture subsequently starved and froze to death.

Reminds us of some famous names today languishing and rotting in prison, victims of vengeful ruling-class injustice.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Thanks for the article. I was sleepy and it "woke" me up.

Sounds like this woman asking for a whole different movie otherwise you'd have to add on two more hours to an already poorly rated movie.

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This might have made the film more interesting. Good Lord it was a drudge. Ridley Scott hasn't made a good movie since Gladiator.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This is nothing.

They just cast Wesley Snipes as Winston Churchill.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Napoleon, so we are told, took 130 Million to 200 Million USD to make. And several days ago we learned that, so far, it has made 117.7 Million internationally and 53.1 Million domestically. It is, after all, a Sony and Apple partnership, so you know it’s streaming over the holidays.

So, does this opinion piece work to nudge people into not seeing it, that may have been considering it, because of fresh outrage? Or will it work the opposite way, and prove an old adage in marketing that news is only bad if you ignore any chance to exploit any fresh opportunities residing within it?

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I have to wonder, based on some of the comments here...since when is an article on Napoleon's complicit racism and advocation of slavery considered "woke"?

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Yet checking the academic backgrounds of these "experts" shows very few academic degrees.


1 ( +1 / -0 )

Read 1804 and 1808...of course. No parallel world. Sorry.

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