French screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière (The Tin Drum, The Discrete Charm of the Bourgeoisie) teams up with leading French comic artist Bernar Yslaire on this next volume in the highly successful series of graphic novels NBM Comics Lit is co-publishing with the Louvre museum.
Taking a turn into history this time, the authors bring us back to the very early chaotic days of the French revolution and a signal point in time for the Louvre: when it went from royal palace to public museum. The artwork collected by kings was to become the property of and be enjoyed by the people.
But this story mostly zeroes in on the relationship of the famous painter David and Robespierre (“The Incorruptible”) at the very time where he instigates The Terror, a very dark period of brutal repression where the Guillotine became known as The Widow. As we see, it was all in the name of a national ‘cleansing.’ Robespierre’s goal was to start afresh including starting a whole new calendar and creating a “Supreme Being” that would replace the old church and its faith dirtied by the corruption of power. David was to paint this ‘Being.’ He managed never to and still keep his head. He stayed focused -if not obsessed-with representing a warfront hero, a very young soldier who stood up to the armies invading France.
The conflicted creation of both a new government and of David’s canvas are juxtaposed in their lofty goals, presenting a fascinating narrative set in a major, albeit violent, turning point in Western Society.
And who better to interweave all these dramatic elements than the screenwriter for the movie Danton, a rival Robespierre dispatched, which was portrayed by Gérard Depardieu. Carrière has a prestigious list of internationally acclaimed movies to his credit. From working for 19 years with Luis Buñuel, he went on to script adaptations of The Unbearable Lightness of Being and Cyrano de Bergerac as well as script That Obscure Object of Desire, besides the movies mentioned before, working with such directors as Louis Malle, Andrzej Wajda and Milos Forman.
Bernar Yslaire (a pen name ‘distortion’ for Bernard Hislaire- he has had many such variations through his career) is no slouch either. In Europe he is known as the best-selling author of the series Sambre
which has sold in the hundreds of thousands of copies. His stunning art provides the occasion for this series to blossom out to a much larger size in an album-like hardcover.
NBM’s ComicsLit imprint has been publishing the remarkable series of graphic novels commissioned by the Louvre calling upon different prominent artists to make up a story around the fabled museum, bringing out GLACIAL PERIOD by Nicolas De Crecy, in its 3rd printing and ON THE ODD HOURS. The next volume to look forward is a visually stunning manga take by the leading Japanese artist Hirohiko Araki.