Paris, 1572. The marriage between Marguerite de Valois, the sister of King Charles IX (Isabelle Adjani), and Henry de Bourbon, King of Navarre (Daniel Auteuil), was to have been an act of rapprochement between the Catholics and Protestants. Instead of finally bringing peace to a country torn apart for many years by deep-rooted religious wars, it led six days later to one of the darkest episodes in the history of France, the St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, during which around six thousand Protestants were brutally murdered. The origins, development and consequences of this massacre, seen through the literary lens of Alexandre Dumas, gave Patrice Chéreau the theme for his most unstinting and lavish film project to date. He stages the events of those August days with Baroque-inspired ostentation and splendour, and also with brutality, the whole conceived as a major theatrical spectacle. He deftly combines dazzling artistic, supremely dramatic stylisation with film realism, and great history with minor chronicles, in the same way that the power struggle at the Parisian court, with its intrigue, treachery, fear and barbarity, is interwoven with the destinies of the pawns in this bloody chess game; here, love affairs can only be conducted in secret and with tragic consequences. In Czech distribution, as in the rest of Europe and in the United States, the film was screened in its shortened, 145-minute version. The original version, lasting 161 minutes, was shown only in France, at the festival in Cannes, where it won the Jury Prize and Best Actress award for Virna Lisi as Catherine de Médicis. Queen Margot also received five César national film awards in France. –Karoly Vary International Film Festival
Primarily known as a stage director in his native France, Patrice Chéreau has also made quite a name for himself in the realm of cinema with such acclaimed features as Queen Margot (1994) and Intimacy (2001). The Lezigne native crossed from stage to screen with the 1975 thriller Flesh and the Orchid, and the auspicious debut earned its up-and-coming director two César nominations. In 1984, Chéreau shared a Best Writing César with Hervé Guibert for his feature The Wounded Man, and in 1994, Chéreau scored his biggest hit to date with the bloody historical drama Queen Margot. Adapted from Alexandre Dumas’ novel, Queen Margot was nominated for Best Costume Design at the 1995 Academy Awards in addition to taking home top prizes at the Cannes Film Festival and the César Awards. Following a pair of successful television endeavors, Chéreau returned to the screen to great success with the emotional drama Those Who Love Me Can Take the Train (1998). An introspective tale of an artist’s final… read more
Chéreau’s mise en scene possesses an air of macabre regality, his and Rousselot’s cinematography being opulent in scale while animate in its staging; all this embodied by the star cast, within which Lisi, Auteuil, and above all, Adjani, tower. A potent blend of turbulent revolution and avaricious domestic politics, flaring with a sort of demented passion to emerge as quite a compelling production. Fancy a watch with Wajda’s Danton.
There is nothing remotely innovative about this film; it is just extremely well made. A triumph of cinematography.
El país se encuentra dividido enmedio de violentas pugnas entre católicos y protestantes. Cárlos IX (Jean Hughes Anglade) el enfermizo rey católico francés, firma un precario… read review