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France Celebrates Napoleon's 200th Death Anniversary with Documentaries

France Celebrates Napoleon's 200th Death Anniversary with Documentaries

Wednesday, 5 May, 2021 - 07:00
A bronze statue of Napoleon Bonaparte in uniform displayed at Osenat auction house before being put on auction, in Fontainebleau, near Paris, France, April 30, 2021. (Reuters)

On the 200th anniversary of Napoleon's death, French TV channels are dedicating their airtime to screen documentaries, programs and special evenings that explore unknown, and sometimes dark sides, of the late emperor's life.

On April 13, France 2 TV inaugurated its commemoration of Napoleon's death with a special episode of the "Laissez-vous Guider" program with Stéphane Bern and Lorànt Deutsch, who took the audience on a journey following "the steps of Napoleon" from Paris to the Aix Island.

The episode included new 3D reconstructed scenes. The evening was concluded with a report from the Grand Napoleon Exhibition at "La Grande Halle," Paris.

On April 19, Bern dedicated his program, "Secrets d'Histoire," to highlight the last years of the emperor, who was toppled and exiled.

The "La Premiere" network, affiliated with France TV, is set to introduce a "different reading" on Napoleon's marriage to Josephine, the heiress of a land and slave owner in the Martinique, who revived slave trade in 1802. Another documentary dubbed "Bonaparte, the Dark Side" exposed this forgotten chapter in the history of France.

The French-German Arte network also prepared two documentaries for the occasion: one was screened on May 1, and the second is scheduled for the eighth.

The first, "Napoleon: Faith and Death," voiced by actor and scriptwriter of Greek origins Denis Podalydès, highlighted the mental state of the emperor, who escaped death on six occasions. The second, entitled "Napoleon – Metternich: Beginning of the End" voiced by actor and director Philippe Torretone, explores the long meeting between Napoleon and Metternich, the Austrian foreign minister in Dresden in 1813.

Histoire TV has planned to air various programs this month that will conclude on May 7, with a documentary series, produced by the BBC, and a special episode of the "C'est un Complot" program that investigates different historic versions and explores a theory that Napoleon was assassinated.

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