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Paris 1919

( 3 )

Overview

World War I was a long and brutal conflict that left more than 16 million people dead, and two months after the war finally came to a halt in November 1918, leaders from the world's major nations came together in Paris, France to draft a treaty that would determine the shape of the post-war world. American president Woodrow Wilson stated his belief that vengeance would not produce justice or prevent another war; instead, he proposed a League of Nations that would give the world's major powers a venue for settling...
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Overview

World War I was a long and brutal conflict that left more than 16 million people dead, and two months after the war finally came to a halt in November 1918, leaders from the world's major nations came together in Paris, France to draft a treaty that would determine the shape of the post-war world. American president Woodrow Wilson stated his belief that vengeance would not produce justice or prevent another war; instead, he proposed a League of Nations that would give the world's major powers a venue for settling their differences without violence. However, Wilson's vision had little appeal to many European leaders, especially the French and the British, who were foremost in the belief that Germany had ultimately caused the war and deserved a punishment greater than their defeat. A demand for reparations from Germany led to months of angry negotiations that left the Germans in financial ruin, while at the same time other officials were literally redrawing the maps of the world as they determined new boundaries and juggled the placement of refugees amidst shifting allegiances. Historian Margaret MacMillan told the story of the Paris Peace Conference and the drafting of the Treaty of Versailles in her best-selling book Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed The World, and filmmaker Paul Cowan has brought the book to the screen in this film adaptation, which uses both rare newsreel footage and vintage photographs along with staged re-enactments to tell the story of a bid for lasting peace and justice that in time helped launch another world war. Paris 1919 received its world premiere at the 2009 Hot Docs International Film Festival.
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Special Features

From the Pages of History: The making of Paris 1919; Narrating History - R.H. Thomson; Peacemaking: Margaret MacMillan on the Paris Peace Conference
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/20/2009
  • UPC: 066805309557
  • Original Release: 2009
  • Source: Bfs Entertainment
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:34:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 33,909

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
R.H. Thomson Voice Only
Technical Credits
Paul Cowan Director, Cinematographer, Screenwriter
Silva Basmajian Executive Producer
Gerry Flahive Producer
Arnie Gelbart Executive Producer
Annie Ilkow Editor
Robert Marcel Lepage Score Composer
Denis Papillon Editor
Paul Saadoun Executive Producer, Producer
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Paris 1919
1. Play Chapter
1. Play Chapter
1. Play Chapter
1. Peace or War?
1. Play Chapter
1. Play Chapter
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Paris 1919
   English Version
      Play Film
      Chapters
         The World Comes to Paris
            Play Chapter
         Constructing a Lasting Peace
         The Price of Peace
         Plenty of Blame: The Germans Arrive
         Time Is Running Out
         The Treaty of Versailles
         New Menu Item
      Captions
         On
         Off
   Version Fran├žaise
   Special Features
      From the Pages of History: The Making of Paris 1919
      Peacemaking: Margaret MacMillan on the Paris Peace Conference
      Narrating History: R.H. Thomson
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 20, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Decisions Still Felt Today

    This program, which skillfully blends actual footage of the time with reenactments -- both of the negotiations and of the German response -- has a lot in it that isn't found in history books. Wilson's idealism mixed with inflexibility (much is made here, especially in Harold Nicolson's diary which serves as part of the narrative, of his Presbyterianism -- both his father and grandfather were preachers); Cleamenceau's desire to NOT have another war with Germany (scenes of the mapmakers creating "buffer" nations to try to keep history from repeating itself) coupled with revenge against Germany not only for the War to End All Wars, but for the previous German invasion which he personally witnessed in his youth; Lloyd George having to live up to the campaign promise he made to get $300 million in German gold (much of it probably having gone off to Holland with the ex-Kaiser, which isn't addressed here), only to have Head of Reparations John Maynard Keynes, the darling of conservative financial policy, ruthlessly reveal how little cash Germany actually had; Orlando, who you almost feel sorry for as he tries to lobby for Italy's unrealistic dream of getting a military port away from Yugoslavia, only to be constantly ignored by the others until Wilson tells him no (he then gets overthrown by Mussolini). And, speaking of unrealistic expectations, there's the German delegation, who saw themselves as not the same government that went to war, producing "documentation" that they weren't the only ones that wanted war, committed atrocities, etc., clinging to the hope that Wilson would help them get a fair deal. Their train trip is steered towards the "scenic" route through northern France, with a special stop at Verdun; suspecting (correctly) that the hotel quarters they're given at Versailles are bugged, they play Wagner -- foreshadowing the soundtrack of the next war -- to cover conversation; their quarters even get the heat turned off. All definite hints of their ultimate reception at the final meeting.

    It's interesting that some of the actions with the most far-reaching consequences are depicted by the mapmakers -- the shifting around of whole ethnic groups that don't really belong in their new nations, the fact that the creation of Iraq was a last-minute patch-up job, etc.

    Another tidbit to provoke thought: at that time, one of the waiters, a young activist from Southeast Asia, requested a meeting with the Council of Four, and was refused. His name: Ho Chih Minh. History tells us that this incident nudged him further towards the left -- and we all know what he would become. What would've happened, I wonder, if he HAD been allowed an audience? We'll never know.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Very good

    A very good explanation of the immediate aftermath of the First World War. Could've been more explanatory of how we're still living with those decisions - for good or bad - today.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews