From one side of the Channel to the other, the film Napoleon by Anglo-American director Ridley Scott was differently appreciated. While he was in the United Kingdom to promote his feature film, with Joaquin Phoenix and Vanessa Kirby in the starring roles, the director of Gladiator, Alien and Blade Runner was questioned about the more cautious reception reserved for it by the French press, while the film will be in cinemas in France from this Wednesday, November 22.
Indeed, the film aroused the enthusiasm of the English press: the Guardian, which awarded it 5 stars, saw it as an “outrageously spectacular cavalry charge” and the Times praised a “masterful historical film”, as “entertaining as it is realistic ".
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But as the BBC also notes, the French press was more mixed. Many historical errors or liberties have been denounced, for example in Le Point by the historian Patrice Gueniffey, who denounces an anti-French and pro-British interpretation of the history of the famous emperor defeated at Trafalgar by the Royal Navy. It also did not escape the BBC that Le Figaro, for its part, mentioned a film featuring “Barbie and Ken under the Empire”...
These criticisms were not to the taste of Ridley Scott, who quipped in response to these remarks: "the French don't even like themselves!", adding however that the preview of the film in Paris , according to him, aroused the enthusiasm of the audience: “During the screening in Paris, the public loved it,” he consoled himself.
At the BBC, Ridley Scott answered even more unpleasant questions. Is he disappointed that he didn’t win the Best Director Oscar? “I don’t care,” he told journalists. And what should we make of the repeated criticisms of his film’s infidelities to historical reality? “You really want me to answer? You better not, I’ll be rude!”