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Marat and Robespierre, sick men of the Revolution

France, 2021, 53′

Director: Dominique Adt
Producer: Capa Presse / MATCHA

Philippe Charlier, doctor and anthropologist, deals with the two most famous figures of the French Revolution: Jean-Paul Marat, nicknamed «the friend of the people» and Maximilien Robespierre, the incorruptible. Both showed signs of illness before they died. But what was it in reality? His investigation takes him to the heart of old revolutionary Paris, as far as the catacombs. To revive these personalities, he finds their respective death masks preserved in museums for centuries. He has the opportunity to discover mortuary casts, a strange practice that used to be the height of fashion at the end of the 18th century, was made famous by a certain Marie Tussaud. Masks that Philippe Charlier intends to use in order to bring these two great historical figures back to life through their facial reconstruction.

To determine the pathologies that gnawed at them, Philippe Charlier gained access to real evidence from the crime scenes of the time: the bathtub in which Marat was murdered and the desk on which injured Robespierre was lying before leaving for the scaffold. More than 200 years later, will the DNA collected finally reveal the truth? Thanks to the latest scientific techniques used by our “doctor of the dead”, this documentary is a real thriller along the path towards the discovery of the last secrets of these two key characters in history.