7.5/10
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Paris 1919: Un traité pour la paix (2009)

A film about the Paris Peace Conference that negotiated the end of World War I with the Versailles Treaty.

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Cast

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Harold Nicolson
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Yan Brian ...
Jean-Gabriel Nordmann ...
Nicholas Hawtrey ...
David Lloyd George (as Nicolas Hawtrey)
Vincent Lo Monaco ...
Vittorio Orlando
Jürgen Zwingel ...
Martin Ziemann ...
Walter Simons
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Jerry Di Giacomo ...
Chef cartographe
Fabrice Talon ...
André Tardieu
Hiro Uchiyama ...
Colin David Reese ...
Hughes
Peter Vizard ...
Venizelos
Nordine Ouchene ...
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Storyline

Using archival footage and dramatic re-enactments, this documentary deals with the immediate aftermath of the 1918 armistice that brought World War I to an end. From January to July 1919, the Paris Peace Conference dealt not only with issues related to Germany but with the thorny issue of national boundaries in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. From this conference emerged Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia; the annexation of parts of Germany by other countries; the creation of Iraq; and the transfer of German colonies in Africa and China to new colonial masters. It also led to the creation of the League of Nations, championed by President Woodrow Wilson but which the US never joined. When they finally dealt with the issue of war reparations, they imposed a payments schedule on Germany that many believe provided the underpinnings of World War II. Written by garykmcd

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1 April 2009 (France)  »

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Paris 1919  »

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Goofs

The actor playing Woodrow Wilson is shown wearing wire-rimmed glasses. The real Wilson, however, always wore a pince-nez, spectacles that are balanced on the wearer's nose, with no ear pieces. See more »

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User Reviews

 
poor documentary
14 June 2009 | by (Herzlya, Israel) – See all my reviews

The negotiations and the peace treaty that ended the first world war were one of the most important historical events of the 20th century. There are surprisingly little documentary films made about this event, despite the fact that it was one of the first well photographed and audio recorded extravaganza in history. A documentary about this event is of high interest for everybody who is interested in history or politics, but 'Paris 1919' deeply disappointed me.

It is not that there was not enough screen time - at around 90 minutes the film is the average length of a fiction film length, but yet there is surprisingly little information in 'Paris 1919'. At start after a good introduction of the events that ended the war in November 1918, the film fails to introduce properly the principal characters of the political drama it describes - the leaders of the nations engaged in negotiations, their background and personalities. It is left to the actors to bring these personalities to screen, but the docu-drama part is flatly acted, the leaders have no personalities, but just declaim historical memories or meeting minutes text without feelings or any personal characterization. It would have been much better to leave all this acting stuff out, there is enough filmed material, and photos or documents would have given a better image of the events.

Worse is the informational part. While the film focuses on the conflict between Germany on one side, England, France and the US on the other, and the issue of the amount of reparations, all other aspects of the peace conference are almost completely left out or mentioned in one or two phrases that make bad service to history. At Paris in 1919 have been drawn the borders of Europe for the rest of the century or longer, here lie the origins of the Balkan and Middle East conflicts. Nothing or almost nothing is said about those. The fate and positions of countries like Turkey and especially the Bolshevik Russia (who did not participate in the negotiations but was in the minds of all participants) are not mentioned at all.

'Paris 1919' is a bad documentary about an important event. Who ever wants to learn about it should rather read books like the one authored by Margaret McMillan. As it stands somebody knows nothing or too little about the peace negotiations that ended the Great War risks to be highly confused by seeing this film, and somebody who does know something about the historical events will learn nothing new from the film.


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