The tagline for “Napoleon,” director Ridley Scott’s new epic that invades theaters Nov. 22, says it all: “He came from nothing. He conquered everything.”
Whether or not that includes box office success — zut alors! the film cost a reported $200 million — there’s no denying that Napoleon (as mononymous as fellow conqueror Cher) left a lasting mark on the world. How to even begin to unpack his complicated legacy, though?
For creative insight, we asked Wilfrid Grandhomme, a French doctoral student in the UCLA Department of European Languages & Transcultural Studies whose current research examines representation of boxing in French and Francophone contemporary literature and cinema, to put up his dukes (not of Wellington).
In the most continental episode of the UCLA College video series to date, “Silly Questions, Smart Bruins,” Grandhomme describes the complex feelings Napoleon evokes in France, who would have been an incredible boxing opponent for him and how Monsieur Bonaparte might have reacted to the iconic ABBA jam he inspired.
(Watch the previous installments of “Silly Questions, Smart Bruins.”)