Picks and Pans Review: The French Revolution: the Fall of the Bastille
This hour-long special, the first of four documentary films on the French Revolution, feels as if it were made by the French tourist industry to promote this year's bicentennial. There's no mention of Marat, Danton, Robespierre or other architects of the Revolution. The Reign of Terror that followed the storming of the Bastille prison on July 14, 1789, is underplayed too. The program centers on the village of Montsecret, where townsfolk annually reenact life during the Revolution. It's well and nice to see them in period costumes, but one would rather know about the vicissitudes of life in Paris and Versailles in the 1780s. Interspersed are interviews with French citizens telling what the Revolution means to them, plus Hollywood-movie clips in which agitated extras wearing too much makeup storm the Bastille. Vraiment!