“Those who do not know history are condemned to repeat it.”
In revolutionary 18th century Paris, it could be fatal to neglect to call one another “citizen” — an uncanny, eerie echo of the present craze for politically-correct speech on US university campuses.
“The Hidden Rebellion” catapults 21st century viewers into this world — where the decrees of Paris unleashed on the rural Vendee all the rage that ideologues could summon against a happy people who rejected their class warfare. How dare these ordinary people oppose a government-decreed paradise on earth?
Through documentary and drama, French writer/producer Daniel Rabourdin’s intelligent new film looks at the genocidal response of the French Revolution to the rebellious peasants of this lovely farming region south of Normandy.
Filmed on location in France, “Hidden Rebellion’s” facts are set forth by historians, while its story is lived out by actors, including descendants of the victims of the 1790’s Vendee genocide.The film moves smoothly from a fireside conversation with experts through searing drama to gripping action film.
Rabourdin’s film skillfully sets us down in the idyllic countryside of the rural Catholic farmers, whose escalating resistance to the Revolution’s desire to create a “New Man” is embodied in the characters of lovely Sophie (Stéphanie Stépanoff) and her husband Martin (Martin Delavenne).
The couple are first attacked by the Parisian revolutionaries for their Catholic faith, and then proceed to rouse the people to armed resistance when their son is killed by the French government “Blues.” Sophie and Martin represent the 150,000 people from the Vendee who disappeared in the winter of 1793 in mass drownings, shootings, and be-headings at the guillotine.
The initial battles, remarkably, go to the Vendéeans (we discover that their scythes have greater reach than French army bayonets), but the rebels are finally crushed beneath a tsunami of three hundred thousand blue and red soldiers conscripted, for the first time in modern history.
On the historians’ side, interviewees include grandchildren of the Armenian and Ukrainian genocides who speak of the methods copied in the 20th century where the perpetrators were atheists, “progressivists” and “humanists.” Particularly disturbing are the revelations of a former Maoist who walks us through the mind of a professional revolutionary.
Horrific, no? As Dr. Philippe Courtois notes with much-needed humor: “It does not seem to bother some people. Because the left in America tries a century later the utopia that most countries on the planet have tested and failed at…”
Many moderns may well ask: why haven’t we heard about the war on Vendée? The answer to his all-important question begins with: “Who could we have heard it from? Today, most historians, universities and media are products of the French Revolution, and deeply devout practitioners of its revolutionary religion of ‘Liberty, Equality and Fraternity’.”
“The Hidden Rebellion” takes us to the birth of that religion upon which modern political thought rests – a nativity scene which we would all do well to contemplate with horror.
“Informative, fascinating, and devastating — relevant to today’s politics. We must always remember that tyranny comes with smiling face and leaves with grinning skull.” – Ben Shapiro