The last days of Marie-Antoinette (Diane Kruger) and the royal court of Versailles are seen from within, through the eyes of a servant (Léa Seydoux) in this spectacular French historical drama inflected with modern intelligence.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2012
The last days of Marie-Antoinette (Diane Kruger) and the royal court at Versailles are seen through the eyes of a servant (Léa Seydoux) in a spectacular French historical drama that is subtly inflected with modern intelligence. Much of the film was indeed shot at Versailles and director Benoit Jacquot keeps the action within the Palace, immersing us in a gilded world supremely unprepared for the fate advancing towards it.
“Based on a novel by Chantal Thomas, the concise screenplay traces the routing of France’s 18th-century aristocracy from the perspective of the decadent blue bloods themselves but more often from the point of view of their downstairs maids, who are smartly individualized and believable. Maybe the film’s biggest intuition is casting the brooding, modern face of Léa Seydoux in the role of Sidonie Laborde, the haughty young reader to Marie-Antoinette who becomes embroiled in the Queen’s love affair with Mme de Polinac (Virginie Ledoyen).
Living in the forlorn poverty of the servants’ quarters, the girl is thrilled to be called into the presence of the beautiful, glamorous Marie- Antoinette, played with teary-eyed passion and, yes, more than a touch of laughable frivolity by a charismatic Diane Kruger.” — Deborah Young, Hollywood Reporter
“The personal dynamic is greatly enhanced by lavish period details… Jacquot uses a shrewdly minimalist approach, at once capturing the vast overabundance of affluence that surrounds the Queen in every corner of Versailles… The architecture isn’t just a framing device; it represents a state of mind.” — Eric Kohn, indieWIRE
THE FRENCH FILMS ARE PROUDLY SUPPORTED BY FRENCH EMBASSY