Thursday, May 27, 2010

La maîtresse du président (2009)

This movie tells the story of Marguerite Steinheil, the mistress of President Félix Faure (1895 - 1899). Married to painter Adolphe Steinheil, she met the president during an exhibition and became his mistress for 3 years until his death. The movie is quite interesting, although after reading Wikipedia, there are some differences.

Her family is ashamed because of the affair. Her husband becomes a drunkard and her daughter hates her and wants to get out from the family by marrying the first man who offers his hand. The president dies after a heart attack following a sex scene and as Marguerite is alone with him, she is accused of murder. Plus, there was an event when the president was attacked in the street with only her as company. The suspicion on her is based on the fact that she has among her friends the supporters of the Dreyfus affair. She is free after the doctor gave a statement that the president dies of natural causes.

Then comes another dark moment in her life, which begins when a stranger comes to buy the documents of late president Faure, which are kept by her. She denies having such documents and later, on the eve of the marriage of her daughter, when she has sent the maid to go with the daughter and locked the little dog outside because it wouldn't stop barking; 3 men and a red-haired woman, dressed as monks in black, break into the house. In the morning, her husband and her mother are found dead. Marguerite herself is gagged and bound into her daughter's bed, where she sleeps that night, but alive. She faces trial as a prime suspect for double murder. She believes she will get the maximum punishment, but after telling her daughter to burn the hidden documents, she is free. Orders from above, says the judge. She doesn't know that her daughter has given the documents to the government. Marguerite goes to England and marries an aristocrat. She dies at 80. The documents is released to public in 2009.

What I read in Wikipedia makes me doubt if Marguerite was as innocent as in this movie. Here she is played by the beautiful Cristiana Réali. Her life is tragic as her mother prevents her to marry a soldier she loves and later when she marries Steinheil, the marriage is insipid. Only in Faure she finds her true love, and this one is, unfortunately, forbidden.

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