Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Movies: Farewell, My Queen

How would you feel if your world is suddenly falling apart? You could get an impression with the French movie "Farewell, My Queen" (imdb), which started recently in U.S cinemas (in French with English subtitles).

The film tells the story of a young female servant who works as a reader for Marie Antoinette (wikipedia). You can experience with her eyes how the artificial and formerly protected world of Versailles and the French royals is getting destroyed by the French revolution. Persons who were used to a charmed life suddenly find themselves on death lists.

"Farewell…" is very different from Sofia Coppola´s "Marie Antoinette", which specialized on the decadent heydays of the Austrian born french Queen. The movie works partly as a historic thriller and transmits the growing fear, panic and cluelessness of the royals in the light of the revolution which spreads like Cholera. You can almost smell the sweat of fear. But the brutality of the mob isn´t shown explicitly, instead the disaster approaches mostly in the shape of rumors and news.

"Farewell.." also is a film about beauty and erotics and benefits a lot from talent and looks of the leading actresses. The french actress and model Léa Seydoux, who already was 27 years old while shooting, played convincingly the very young servant. She displayed a mixture of innocence & naivety but also curiosity, aplomb and a bit of stubbornness while watching the downfall of her superiors. The German born top model Diane Kruger (birth name Diane Heidkrüger) played Marie Antoinette and exhibited how the bored and capricious aristocrat got more and more haunted. Virginie Ledoyen, who who has just a minor role as the queen`s real love, enriched the movie by her sheer delicacy.

The cinematography by Romain Winding displayed both worlds: Either the dying luxury of Versailles and the growing claustrophobia suffered by people who are being sucked into the vortex of the bloody revolution. "Farewell…." fulfilled my hopes which Sophia Coppola`s film had waked.

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