NOTRE DAME ON FIRE
(director/writer: Jean-Jacques Annaud; screenwriter: Thomas Bidegain; cinematographer: Jean-Marie Dreujou; editor: Reynald Bertrand; music: Simon Franglen; cast: Samuel Labarthe (Général Gontier), Jean-Paul Bordes (Général Gallet), Mickaël Chirinian (Laurent Prades, le régisseur général de Notre-Dame); Runtime: 110; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Jérôme Seydoux; Wildside; 2022-France/Italy/UK/USA-in French with English subtitles)
“Though the dialogue is clunky, the visuals are clear.“
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A “dramatic reconstruction” of the traumatic 24 hours of the events on April 15, 2019, that’s filmed as a disaster picture of the iconic medieval Notre Dame cathedral in Paris that catches fire and fire crews frantically try to put it out and save its structure and priceless artwork and religious icons.
Though the dialogue is clunky, the visuals are clear.
It was clever of the filmmaker to use a split-screen to highlight some of the recovered footage.
French filmmaker Jean-Jacques Annaud (“The Name of the Rose”/”Black Gold”) uses real-life footage for his fascinating documentary, shot like a pulp film.
It’s pointed out how lax were the authorities in treating this very serous fire. How safety measures were often ignored, and how the city’s fire chief wasn’t alerted until about half an hour after the fire began.
But the film really burned me up when in the end the filmmaker has the audacity to imply the miraculous saving of the church, even if suffering much damage, had no fatalities, which is attributed to God and a little girl’s payers.
REVIEWED ON 7/29/2022 GRADE: B-