A review of the film queen margot by patrice chereau

Queen margot movie

Based on an especially convoluted novel by Dumas Pere that has been "unavailable to American readers for nearly a century" according to a new paperback edition , this is a story involving dozens of potentially confusing historical figures. Eventually a few familiar faces came swimming toward me from out of long-ago history classes: Catherine de Medici, for example. It is all made up of closeups heads, shoulders, heaving bosoms and scurryings hither and thither, and night shots of orgies of sex and violence. At its center is a rare beauty who loves purely, suffers exquisitely and poses for many ravishing close-ups before this tale is over. However, even though the court intrigue took some following, this still worked as a Grand Guignolic soap opera, with Margot's relationships with her husband, lover and fiercely protective brother, the Duc of Anjou Pascal Greggory , being as satisfyingly melodramatic as Catherine's pitiless villainy. Bartholomew's Day Massacre, at which some 50, Protestants were murdered and dumped into mass graves. He opens on a bewildering array of characters who are not established, with motives that must be guessed.

Though it runs close to two-and-a-half hours, "Queen Margot" is now considerably clearer and more sedate than it used to be. Remember for example " Camille Claudel "based on the life of the woman sculptor who was the mistress of Rodin, but whose talent was shrugged aside because of her sex, and who ended up in an asylum.

The film's hysterical edge also remains jarringly intact. It all takes far too long, and you might want to bone up on 16th Century political history before you go, but with long-haired beauties of both sexes constantly flinging themselves into each other's arms in a frenzy of love or hatred - or both - this bodice-ripping drama is a Francophile's idea of heaven. Contrast that with the French poster , which has Isabelle Adjani in a white dress soaked with blood, her hands cupped to her face in abject horror. Be grateful there won't be a quiz when the film is over. One of the film's typically impassioned exchanges finds Margot very nearly being raped by her brothers. But the film didn't seem much concerned with explaining people and relationships, and devoted its energies instead to an almost unwatchable visual style, made up of endless closeups and a restlessly roving camera. When the wrong person picks up the book, the result is the best double-take in the movie, and certainly the best deathbed speech: "I've read too much. Chereau has concluded that an atrocity like the St. The only real pageantry in the film comes at the beginning, when Margot Isabelle Adjani , a Catholic royal, enters into an arranged marriage with the Huguenot King Henri of Navarre Daniel Auteuil , a gesture intended to sustain a truce in the war of religions. The match has been engineered by the conniving Catherine, whose antipathy to Henri and his family is expressed in typically casual, anachronistic fashion. In a film this feverish, nothing less will do. The director, Patrice Chereau , sure that his French audience knows his characters as well, say, as Americans might know the headliners at Woodstock, wants to convey the atmosphere at a court where marriage was a political weapon, Catholic and Protestant were at each other's necks, and the most useful attendant was the Royal Poisoner. Adjani is decked out gloriously to play the very young Margot, a raven-haired vision described by Dumas as a French national treasure.

Based on an especially convoluted novel by Dumas Pere that has been "unavailable to American readers for nearly a century" according to a new paperback editionthis is a story involving dozens of potentially confusing historical figures. The early scenes do not allow us to easily enter the film.

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It is all made up of closeups heads, shoulders, heaving bosoms and scurryings hither and thither, and night shots of orgies of sex and violence.

It incorporates the St.

The film's hysterical edge also remains jarringly intact. The only real pageantry in the film comes at the beginning, when Margot Isabelle Adjani , a Catholic royal, enters into an arranged marriage with the Huguenot King Henri of Navarre Daniel Auteuil , a gesture intended to sustain a truce in the war of religions. Much more effective is a quiet subplot involving a poisoned book; its reader, licking his finger to turn the pages, will eventually kill himself. So here in the 16th century are hand-held camera work, rock star hairdos the sons of Catherine de Medicis could pass for an aging heavy-metal band and remarks like "Love me like never before! Remember for example " Camille Claudel " , based on the life of the woman sculptor who was the mistress of Rodin, but whose talent was shrugged aside because of her sex, and who ended up in an asylum. Contrast that with the French poster , which has Isabelle Adjani in a white dress soaked with blood, her hands cupped to her face in abject horror. The scene was re-inserted because Miramax insisted that the relationship between the two characters be more substantial, as the romance was to become the focal point for the American marketing campaign. When the wrong person picks up the book, the result is the best double-take in the movie, and certainly the best deathbed speech: "I've read too much.

Production[ edit ] The film was an international coproduction made by several companies based in France, Germany, and Italy, with the additional participation of StudioCanal and the American company Miramax and the support of Eurimages. Eventually, because we are clever, we figure out who is doing what, and to whom, but the film's narrative makes it hard for us to care.

She has a lover, he has a mistress and the marriage has no meaning except as a method of quelling warfare between religious factions. Running time: minutes. At its center is a rare beauty who loves purely, suffers exquisitely and poses for many ravishing close-ups before this tale is over. To preserve these articles as they originally appeared, The Times does not alter, edit or update them. It all takes far too long, and you might want to bone up on 16th Century political history before you go, but with long-haired beauties of both sexes constantly flinging themselves into each other's arms in a frenzy of love or hatred - or both - this bodice-ripping drama is a Francophile's idea of heaven. Some pointed out that Isabelle Adjani was too old to play the teenage queen. Catherine de Medici meanwhile plays politics, and favorites, with her three sons, who mope about while Margot slips aside with la Mole Vincent Perez , the lover she has found in the streets. The conflict between the Catholics and the Protestants is taken down to street level, where rivals tussle in volatile scrums that can sweep up even the most powerful figures on both sides. Chereau creates an atmosphere in which his actors' flamboyance can be entertaining.

To preserve these articles as they originally appeared, The Times does not alter, edit or update them. But they are in a hissing match before they're fairly down the aisle, and there's no question of them sleeping with one another; their union is for the purpose of ending a religious war.

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There were those, however, who claimed that such carnage was a response to the civil wars then erupting across Eastern Europe following the collapse of Communism.

In a film this feverish, nothing less will do.

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Queen Margot / The Dissolve