Jan 16, 2013

Farewell, My Queen is an absolute

Smashing little entertainment; a ripping yarn impeccably shot, written, performed, composed, and designed.  It is an old-school film that hurtles along at breakneck speed, and achieves everything it sets out to achieve in one hundred minutes, while still leaving the viewer wanting more at the end.

"Yes, your wig does make you taller than me, your Majesty."

I wanted Renee and I to see this at the theater last Spring but it never worked out.  (And, by the way, the Wife tells me the Cinearts "Dome" in Pleasant Hill is closing up shop soon.  Very sad.)

The film is based on a novel of the same name by Chantal Thomas, which I am now very eager to buy and read for myself.  The story concerns three days in the Palace at Versailles just after the Bastille has been stormed.  The court goes in to complete paranoid chaos as to what to do in response, to save the monarchy, and to save their heads.

Queen Marie Antoinette has a reader employed at the court, and decides that the best way to save her lover's life, a Duchess, is for her reader and the Duchess to switch roles and "costumes" in a carriage bound for Switzerland (Basel! Where my Dad lives!) so that if they decide to execute the Duchess, they will have executed the reader instead.

I gather that Ms Thomas must have been quite familiar with this juicy, perhaps apocryphal  tale of the court, and decided to write the novel from the reader's perspective.  The reader is madly in love with the Queen, herself.

Diane Kruger plays the Queen.  Lea Seydoux plays the reader.  And, Virginie Leydoyen plays the Duchess.  Benoit Jacquot directs.  It was shot by Romain Winding, and there is a beautiful, exquisitely and tastefully utilized,  original score by Bruno Coulais.

Plus, I had a "Hey, it is that guy!" moment with the film, recognizing a French actor from a different French film that I love, without remembering his name.  That means I am seeing enough French films now for that to occur.  Pretty damn cool! (The actor's name is Jacques Boudet and he also appears in The Names of Love.)

Supremely highly recommended.  Buy or rent on iTunes, or buy the bluray or dvd  for yourself for at home.


And, then I promptly fell asleep during Godard's latest, Film Socialisme, about one third the way through, which says more about the film than my tiredness in this instance.

Mwah, ... 
Love you all,

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