Sunday, June 20, 2010

La reine Margot (1994)

Based on the book by Alexandre Dumas, this is the story of Queen Margot - sister of King Charles IX. Her marriage to Henri de Navarre triggered the Massacre of St. Bartholomew on August 24, 1572. Margot's family is Catholic and with her marriage to Henri de Navarre, a Protestant king, a hope that the reconciliation between both religions will be realized. Contrast to that hope, what happens next is horrible: many Protestants arrive in Paris for the marriage, and they are all killed. Catherine de Médicis, the Queen Mother, wants Henri to die as well, but Margot wants her husband to live - even though she loves another.

When I read the book, the parts I really liked were the friendship between Protestant La Môle, Queen Margot's lover - whom she saved on that terrible night, and Coconnas, a devout Catholic. Coconnas tries to kill La Môle at first, but in the end they become good friends. In this film, the story of their friendship doesn't have a large part, but we do get complicated intrigues from the royal family - which are very interesting as always, like the stories from the court of Mary Stuart or Elizabeth Tudor. Nowadays writers with their imagination cannot compete with real politicians like them.

The cast is solid with Isabelle Adjani (perfect as Queen Margot. She looks so innocent and pure. We sympathize with her.), Daniel Auteuil, Vincent Perez, Virna Lisi (wonderful as Catherine de Médicis. She does look like a witch - Snow White's step mother), and Jean-Claude Brialy (as Coligny - the scene of his death is great. He is thrown from a window, like depicted in Giorgio Vasari's fresco - but not as naked.).

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