Enfilade

Cinema Returns to Marie Antoinette

Posted in reviews by Editor on March 7, 2012

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Les adieux à la reine (Farewell, My Queen). Directed by Benoit Jacquot. Based on the 2002 novel by Chantal Thomas. With Lea Seydoux, Diane Kruger, Virginie Ledoyen, Xavier Beauvois, Noemie Lvovsky, Michel Robin, Julie-Marie Parmentier, Lolita Chammah, Marthe Caufman, Vladimir Consigny. French, English dialogue. 99 mintues, 2012.

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As reviewed by Geoffrey Macnab for The Independent (15 February 2012). . .

The French Revolution has been portrayed many times before on screen but never in quite oblique a way as in Benoit Jacquot’s film. This is a very well observed study of social breakdown and decay set over four days in July 1789, seen from the perspective of palace servant Sidonie Laborde (the pouting young French actress Lea Seydoux.)

There are no tumbrels or guillotines. Court life in Versailles is carrying on just about as normal but we are always aware of the mounting sense of panic. Even as they adhere to courtly rituals, the courtiers can smell and feel that their way of life is coming to end. The costume and production design deliberately show the cracks beginning to appear. Versailles is magnificent but under director Benoit Jacquot’s close-up gaze, we see that everything is past its best. Even Marie Antoinette (played with a winning mix of haughtiness and vulnerability by Diane Kruger) has to fuss about her dresses and wigs. . .

The full review is available here»