Le Bazar de la Charité (Bonfire Of Destiny) – Netflix Season 1 Review


 

Season 1

Episode Guide

Episode 1 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 2 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 3 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 4 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 5 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 6 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 7 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 8 – | Review Score – 3.5/5

 

Le Bazar de la Charité (or The Bonfire Of Destiny as it appears to have renamed as) is an 8 episode French Netflix series that backdrops a historical tragedy with soap opera romance and familial drama. For the most part, the show does well to keep this a consistent plot point but plays out a little too heavily on the melodramatic spectrum, with plenty of twists and turns along the way. Armed with some slick cinematography and high-end production value, this series certainly has an engaging story but those looking for an accurate and gritty recreation of the event itself may be left disappointed.

Set in Paris during 1897, Le Bazar de la Charite follows the events during and after the annual Bazar de la Charite. When a fire engulfed the building and killed 120 inside, what followed was an angry wave that descended across the streets of Paris demanding the authorities find someone to blame. The real story is a fascinating and tragic tale but as I said before, those looking for a realistic reenactment of these events should probably steer clear. While the first episode does tackle the fire itself, the second episode briefly looks at the horrific scenes in the hospitals before running three separate plot lines parallel to one another, as we follow our trio of characters away from the aftermath of the fire.

One of the characters, Rose, finds herself badly burned in the fire and is forced to assume the identity of Odette, one of the richest women in Paris who died in the fire. A big twist in her tale around the midway point throws a serious spanner in the works too. Meanwhile, Adrienne finds herself desperately searching for her daughter whom her controlling husband Marc-Antoine looks after in the aftermath of the fire. Believing her to be dead, Adrienne sets out to try and get her daughter back without her husband suspecting she’s still alive. The third character, Alice, finds herself confronted with hard truths surrounding her partner and finds her heart straying to Victor, a man who helps her in the first episode. In a cruel sense of irony, Victor winds up as the man accused of being the arsonist.



All of this converges at the end for a dramatic finale that rounds things out nicely but along the way the show does everything it can to keep things as dramatic as possible, sometimes to the detriment of the show itself. In its most basic form, this is a polished period soap opera first and foremost, with a lot of character melodrama and familial issues at the heart of this. The costume and production design are excellent though and most of the cast and crew do an excellent job delivering their dialogue with flair and enthusiasm. Rose in particular is great in her role, torn between what’s right and dealing with her own disfigurement in a believable manner.

Aesthetically, Le Bazar de la Charité uses a lot of interesting shots throughout its run-time too, peppered in with a smattering of fade edits for good measure. I mentioned within a few of the episode recaps that there’s some stylish camera work and that continues pretty much right the way through the show. Whether it be a camera spinning around a piano as Adrienne and Marc-Antoine play or a dolly movement in the midst of the raging fire early on, every shot is deliberate and does well to show off the technicality on display here. There’s also a fair few repeated shots of a guillotine throughout too, cleverly foreshadowing what’s to come late on.

Overall, Le Bazar de la Charité is a soapy, melodramatic series that interweaves elements of the Bazar fire tragedy in 1897 with a trio of female-led storylines that works reasonably well together. Although there are times where the show falls a little too deeply into its soap-opera story, losing sight of its opening fiery drama, the show manages to remain an engaging and enjoyable watch from start to finish thanks to its trio of gripping storylines. The self-contained story helps too, given the definitive ending we receive, and the show does a good job ending each episode on a light cliffhanger to keep you coming back for more.

It’s not perfect but if you can take to the overly dramatic and soapy story, Le Bazar de la Charité certainly has an addictive, moreish feel to it, making for a pretty good binge.

 


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6 thoughts on “Le Bazar de la Charité (Bonfire Of Destiny) – Netflix Season 1 Review”

  1. I didn’t think that time period had the guillitine as it was eliminated after the revolution but rather a firing squard. HoweverI binged. The sets we’re beautiful, the characters well defined. We usually expect that from the BritishBBC, Pinewood but this production was excellent. Spoiler,: the fire is disturbing.

  2. I enjoyed this series very much. The acting is good, the period costumes and settings are gorgeous, and I was already interested in the real-life story on which the whole project is based. My only complaint would be [SPOILERS] that it’s hard to suspend disbelief regarding the identity stratagem part. Are we really to believe that a gauzy headscarf prevents a woman from being recognized by her employer of fifteen years, her husband or the husband of the woman she impersonates? What about the voice? That subplot was really grating to me for that reason. The others I was more interested in. All in all, I recommend this.

  3. It was very interesting however everybody was too clean. Even the urchin who sells newspapers has squeaky clean hair and a clean face which seemed too inconsistent with the times.

  4. I just binged this in one day! Which is unsual for me! This is an intense story, and there are some difficult scenes, most especially in the pilot with the brutal and long scenes of the chaos and hysteria of the victims stuck inside the burning building. There are a few other domestic violence scenes that can be hard to watch. The acting is all spot on! There are no weak links. Rose has my favourite storyline, but they’re all good. I definitely recommend this one if you enjoy historical drama and soapy shows.

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