An entire film in heat. At times, it seems to be lost in its own lust, for blood and breasts, favoring decadence and debauchery over linear narrative and character. Thing is, that’s my kind of movie. It’s a costume drama that wants to strip naked, a sprawling film epic craving intimate orgasm. It’s a beautiful contradiction seeking a totality of experience, and the film gets dangerously close to achieving it.
It may be historically inaccurate--blame it on Dumas. Yet the film fascinates with its performances, technicalities, and the stunning addition of a Yiddish song "Elo Hi" from Ofra Haza at the end, especially in a French film. The husband and wife relationship of Margot and Henri is great to study. The film is not merely about Protestants and Catholics--it includes the Jews within its canvas.
The ultra gorgeous Isabella Adjani is a huge highlight in this French costume drama playing a queen who relishes in sex, incestuous relationships and wanders around in blood and corpses. Add a great supporting cast and a sexy appearance by Asia Argento and this is pretty out-of-this-world sexy stuff. A great presentation that is fantastic with beautiful costumes, decor and plenty of cleavages.
Exceptionally well-paced for a period film -- it often feels as though events are unfolding in real-time. It's also visually astonishing. Juxtaposes sumptuous and wretched imagery very simply, but strikingly. The stirring image of a shocked Adjani, cupping her hands to her mouth, white gown splattered with blood, was often censored or replaced in western marketing; a shame, as it best represents the film.
Isabelle Adjani and Virna Lisi give truly transformative performances as Marguerite de Valois and her mother, Catherine de Medici. They are unrecognizable as themselves, both entirely consumed by their roles as two powerful women on opposing sides of a family divided, at war with itself, much in the way that France was at war with itself, pitting Protestants against Catholics. Margot begins the film as an icy,...↓
Ah, civilization as barbarism, from macro to micro, never better exemplified. Doesn't have the language of Shakespeare, obviously, but does have the scope, and betters the dramaturgy. And young Asia Argento appears. I'm not really a fan of "bodice-rippers," but if all that was available were "bodice-rippers" in which Asia Argento appears, I would be a pretty happy human person. And one of the great endings!
Este magistral film representó un exitoso fenómeno para el cine francés; no obstante, el recientemente fallecido realizador Patrice Chèreau no quiso ser visto como un cineasta “de moda”, por lo que su carrera posterior a ésta cinta se mantuvo en un nivel voluntariamente discreto. La imagen de Isabelle Adjani ataviada en un hermoso vestido blanco ensangrentado se ha convertido en un icono del cine de los años noventa.