Tuesday, March 6, 2012
For God and King
Back in December I blogged about the forthcoming film The War of the Vendée from independent Catholic studio Navis Pictures, which was released on February 24 (the 219th anniversary of the Republic's decree of conscription that was the last straw for the Vendeans). Yesterday my copy arrived in the mail so I was able to watch the movie myself. Anyone who compared this film unfavorably to big-budget Hollywood productions would be missing the point. Yes, it is a bit odd that all the cast are children or teenagers (though as director Jim Morlino pointed out in an interview, most of the actual Vendeans were relatively young themselves). Yes, there are some unintentionally amusing scenes, such as when a heroic Vendean girl successfully intimidates a couple of even younger republican soldiers with a rolling pin (if only it had been that easy!), and what is almost certainly the only depiction ever of Robespierre with braces (and, at one moment, digitally enhanced glowing red eyes, in case we didn't know he's evil). Traditionalists might be slightly uncomfortable with a concluding paean to "Religious Liberty." (Were the Vendeans fighting for religious freedom in the modern sense, or for the faith that they believed was the one and only Truth which the state ought to acknowledge as it did under the ancien regime?)
But I think in the end all that pales compared to the admirable sincerity and zeal of these beautiful young Catholic performers in bringing to the screen for the first time the tragic and heroic story of the Vendée, arguably the first modern genocide, and in introducing the royalist perspective on the French Revolution to American viewers (especially Catholics) who may not be accustomed to associating loyalty to one's heavenly king with loyalty to one's earthly king. [For a review by a prominent Catholic priest, see WDTPRS. For a thoughtful interview with Morlino and Paul Reilly, 16, who stars as Jacques Cathelineau (1759-1793) see The Remnant.] As a musician I also appreciated the stirring orchestral score by Kevin Kaska, especially the lyrical cello solos, perhaps the one area in which The War of the Vendée is fully comparable with major studio releases.
I believe any monarchist, regardless of religious beliefs, will be genuinely moved as I was by this tale of resistance to the terror of the French Revolution, as brave young men and women react with horror and boldly refuse to accept the imprisonment and murder of their King Louis XVI, even at one point hoping to liberate and crown his young son Louis XVII. Perhaps it will even eventually inspire someone with more resources to take on the task of bringing the story of the Vendée to the screen at the epic blockbuster level it deserves (which to be truly honest about the horrific reality of the Revolution would need to not be as "family-friendly"). I encourage all readers to support this worthwhile endeavor by buying a DVD from the website, or even arranging permission for a public screening if possible. Never forget that the French Republic (which has never acknowledged its guilt and continues to this day to celebrate its evil Revolution which has been the source of so much suffering for more than two centuries) remains stained by the blood of the martyrs of the Vendée. Only restoration of France's ancient Catholic Monarchy can cleanse that once-great nation of the sins of the Revolution. Vive le Roi!
"Mes amis, si j'avance, suivez-moi! Si je recule, tuez-moi! Si je meurs, vengez-moi!"
--Henri de la Rochejaquelein (1772-1794)