21 August 2010

La Reine Margot


france as only the french can do it.

August 24, 1572
Massacre of St. Bartholomew

T H E   P L A Y E R S 


T H E  P L A Y

-in happier times


isabel adjani as margot

Charles IX
King, brother to Margot

Henri  duc d'Anjou, brother to Charles & Margot
later  Henri iii

Henri de Bourbon-marries Margot
later Henri iv- Henri le grand

Catherine de Médicis
Margot's mother

played by verni lisi

Duc d'Guise-Margot's lover

august 24 massacre

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.

artists here Clouet ,Dubois


  1. It is an amazing film I have seen it several times. The visual style is incredible. I didn't realise they made a longer version. I must see if I can track it down. What a terrible period in France's history.

  2. Didn't know it was shortened. It's visually strong, but I wasn't mad about the acting/directing. I'm not an Adjani fan, although she is certainly beautiful. Perhaps the cutting reduced some complexity from the film as well. The Dumas book is an interesting contrast. Someday, someone should do a real biopic of Margot, who was uppity and troublesome for a woman of her time.

  3. One could imagine not being "an Adjani fan" somewhat better if excuses were needed for the "certainly beautiful." I haven't seen Chéreau's direction of her, but in the hands of a great master of directing women, she was electrifying for Truffaut (of whom all gossip is beside the point). What's horrifying about her "Adèle H" is that it's right; and her Pinson credibly humanises her obsession.

    This report was a particular feast for one man's eyes - not of the intensity of your send-up of Kubrick's Thackeray, but reminiscent of its respectfulness. If one's going to perform this preserving task, this seems the way.

  4. Yes, Laurent. L'Histoire d'Adele H. is the sad love story to end all sad love stories. And Adjani is manifique. Truffaut was the master at capturing the strange and often destructive longings of the human heart, and Adjani the perfect embodiment of the same. I've seen it a dozen times and that film still chills me to the bone. My heart bleeds especially for the bookseller, who has his own sweet obsession with Adele, mirroring her mad love for Pinson.

    Queen Margot is also divine--was anyone better physically better suited to play a Renaissance Queen than Adjani, with her blue-white skin, blue-black hair, and blue-violet eyes?

    My other favorite of hers is Werner Herzog's Nosferatu. Tragic vampire Kinski must devour Adjani's pure innocence before it vanquishes his equally pure evil. A silent film with sound, if such a thing is possible.

    Little Augury, thank you so much for transporting me to the enchanting world of Isabelle Adjani. A refreshing remembrance of things past.

  5. This is such an exquisite juxtaposition of sensual beauty with senseless violence. Best, Kendra

  6. Oh she was so beautiful there, I saw her a few weeks back, she has ruined her face with plastic surgery.

  7. I know now I have to see the Adèle H-added to the netflix queue at top. Her Camille Claudel is on the list too-since the NCMA has an extensive Rodin collection recently installed in a new space.

    in doing the post I did see some recent photographs of her-she is working very hard -and just 55 years old.

  8. I hope the post and the comments you've left will encourage people who have not seen it to jump in. the story in itself is so compelling-it could hardly miss. I have seen it 3 times now-just last week and each time it offers something I missed or was not ready for. pgt

  9. Ah, one of my favorite French movies - royalty, romance, treachery, bloodshed, poisoning and above all, the meaning of friendship.



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