Tonight, Saturday May 8, 2021, Arte is showing at 8:50 p.m. a documentary entitled Napoleon – Metternich: the beginning of the end. The Franco-German docu-fiction directed by Mathieu Schwartz and Christian Twente stars David Sghicelli as Napoleon Bonaparte and Pierre Kiwitt as Klemens Wenzel von Metternich in a historically decisive face-to-face.

In Dresden, June 26, 1813: in the Brühl-Marcolini Palace, in the suburb of Ostra, near Dresden, the diplomat Klemens Count von Metternich and the Emperor Napoleon I face each other. A key moment in European history. It is about war and peace on the continent. On the one hand: the Austrian Foreign Minister, the Emperor’s closest confidant, a master of diplomacy. His counterpart: the French ruler of the century, Napoleon Bonaparte – already a legend during his lifetime.

So far he has brought all his opponents to their knees. He subjugated almost all of Europe and in so doing acquired the myth of military invincibility. Metternich presents the fiery Frenchman with a choice: either he accepts Metternich’s peace plan and retreats behind the Alps, or Austria falls into the camp of his opponents. For Napoleon, this is a formidable provocation. He does not want to cede any part of his empire without a fight – and thus lose an essential part of his power over Europe. The two opponents engage in a verbal exchange of blows where all the masks fall. Napoleon, who knows only the law of the strongest, does not want to make peace. And Metternich, who has come to make peace, shows his true face.

This docu-fiction recaps the power struggle between the two men, with flashbacks to the thrilling prequel and a look at what happened next. Only a few months after the historic duel in Dresden, Napoleon was forced to admit his defeat to a coalition of Austria, Russia and Prussia in Paris. On April 11, 1814, nine months after Dresden-Ostra, he signed the Treaty of Fontainebleau and had to go into exile for the first time on the island of Elba.

You can therefore see Napoleon – Metternich: the beginning of the end on Arte this Saturday May 8, 2021 at 8:50 p.m. or until May 2, 2022 on

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