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La princesse de Montpensier (2010)
Genres: Action / History / Drama / Romance
Country: Germany France
Director: Bertrand Tavernier
Cast: Mélanie Thierry (Princesse Marie de Montpensier), Lambert Wilson (Comte de Chabannes), Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet (Prince de Montpensier), Gaspard Ulliel (Henri de Guise), Raphaël Personnaz (Duc d'Anjou), Anatole de Bodinat (Joyeuse), Eric Rulliat (Quelus), Samuel Theis (La Valette), Michel Vuillermoz (Duc de Montpensier), Judith Chemla (Catherine de Guise), Philippe Magnan (Marquis de Mézières), César Domboy (Mayenne), Jean-Pol Dubois (Cardinal de Lorraine), Florence Thomassin (Marquise de Mézières), Christine Brücher (Duchesse de Montpensier), Evelina Meghnagi (Catherine de Médicis), Charles Petit (Nicolas), Joséphine de La Baume (Jeanne), la suivante, Jean-Yves Roan (Le colporteur), Nathalie Krebs (Duègne Marie),
Bertrand Tavernier is in top form with this gripping, superbly mounted drama set against the savage Catholic/Protestant wars that ripped France apart in the 16th century. Based on a novella by the celebrated Madame de Lafayette, the action centers on the love of Marie de Mezières for her dashing cousin Henri de Guise, thwarted when her father's political ambitions force her into marriage with the well-connected Philippe de Montpensier, who she has never met. When Philippe is called away to fight, she is left in the care of Count Chabannes, an aging nobleman with a disdain for warfare, and soon becomes exposed to the sexual and political intrigues of court. Written by Palm Springs Internation Film Festival
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My love affair with cinema started as a teenager with a chance viewingof Patrice Chéreau's La reine Margot (1994) late one night on TV. It'sa lavish costume drama set at the same time as The Princess ofMontpensier including some of the same characters, both with key scenesset during the St Bartholomew's Day Massacre in 1572. So this felt likea return to the beginning for me, a special occasion.
I feared it may have been a wasted ticket at the start as it opens witha rather bombastic action sequence that looked too staged and wasdrowned by Hollywood "big music", ludicrous percussion-heavyseat-shaking stuff. Perhaps Tavernier caught a bug working in theStates on In the Electric Mist. Of course such antics may be right upyour street if you are a Gladiator fan. By the way I felt the firstscene portrayed the Comte de Chabannes and cohorts as being tooreckless with their lives, unrealistically so.
However the film improved, and Chabannes cut an iconic figure in hisodd Spanish hat. The film was based on the short story of the same nameby Madame de La Fayette, which I definitely intend to read now.
The drama concerns the Princess of Montpensier (Mélanie Thierry) who isloved by four very contrasting men. Will she choose the right one?Haha, that would not be very interesting now would it? I think it'ssomewhat of a breakout role for the stunning Mélanie Thierry, who hasbeen in some potboilers as well as having a very gamine role as thepassive object of Danny Boodmann T.D. Lemon Nineteen Hundred'saffections in Giuseppe Tornatore's The Legend of 1900 back in 1998. Sheis the very essence of the type of woman that a man develops amour foufor. The best casting decision I've seen all year for sure, though itwould have helped if Tavernier had been a better director of actors.
I did feel there was a strange lack of pathos in the movie, I thinkgenerally a director requires actors to emote, to show what they arethinking on their faces. This is the great artifice of cinema. I'veseen a few Tavernier films and I don't think he likes to get them doingthat. In a way I think that makes the movie quite abstract. The plot isso sheerly powerful by itself that I was enraptured.
I like the way the movie quotes the sentiments from Hebrews Chapter 11Verse 1: "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidenceof things not seen." Faith is something that we've lost to a degree inwestern life, making life seem a pointless charade. Good watching.10/10 as I'm a sentimental fool.
To Claire, impertinently.
I loved every frame of this romantic historical drama! The film is moreabout the four men (Lambert Wilson, Gregoire LePrince-Ringuet, GaspardUlliel and Raphael Personnaz) more than her (Melanie Thierry). BetrandTavernier is one of the great directors of all time. The film is moreleisurely than "Queen Margot", which it resembles in it's period andit's story. The editing is fluid, the costumes, the sets, the designelements are all so pleasurable and add so much - I wasn't bored for asingle moment. I esp. loved the performances by all 5 lead actors. Itwas interesting seeing these actors in very different roles than I amused to seeing them in. The story also resembles Thomas Hardy's "FarFrom The Madding Crowd", but instead of 3 men there are 4. (: Yes, thepolitics of Catholics, Protestants and "heretics" is a bit confusingbut that's always the case with these medieval movies. I assume inFrance they learn this in history class so they don't need theinformation as much as we do. But I didn't care. I was so caught up inthe story and esp. the acting that I didn't need anything more. I givethis film a 10 out of 10 because I wasn't bored for a single frame ofthe movie.
I'm a sucker for period pieces and this one delivered on all the partsthat I love. Great costumes and art direction. Breathtaking scenerycomplete with castles set among hills ablaze in autumn colors. And oh,the fabrics!!! French is always beautiful to listen to, but this filmwas simply music to the ears. Gorgeous use of language. Thunderinghorses, clashing swords, unrequited love. Shamelessly romantic whileshowing how tough life was. War was miserable. No escape from the rainand cold. Women's lives sucked, even if rich. Catherine de'Medici wassuperb. The acting was good enough for the characters to be convincingwhich is what I care about. I was transported. That's what I want. Lotsof films about Tudor England which is same time period, but few aboutCatholics and Huguenots. I'd see it again.
Plot: A beautiful Princess wins the love of four men but fails to puther duty ahead of her feelings.
This excellent film is based on an old novella by Madame de La Fayetteand therefore isn't prey to the usual historical distortions that filmsso often impose on the past. In particular it places duty abovefeelings and illustrates vividly the consequences of failing to do so.It also helps that the film is very, very well made. Bernard Tavenierbrings his naturalism to the brutal religious wars of the Renaissance(which were worse than those of the Medieval era) in France betweenPapist and Hugenot. I have some criticisms: the film is over-long andwould have benefited from pruning; knowledge of the historicalbackground is assumed, which might prove awkward for foreign audiencewho don't know who Admiral Colginy is; and the battle scenes, after thefirst, have greater ambitions than the budget can provide and theresulting scenes are confused. Nonetheless this is a terrifichistorical film, entertaining for both men and women.
This costumer drama is set against the savage Catholic/Protestant warsthat ripped France apart in the 16th century , the French Wars ofReligion (156298) is the name given to a period of civil infightingand military operations, primarily fought between French Catholics andProtestants (Huguenots). The story takes place in the Frencharistocracy during the 'Wars of Religion', the conflict involved thefactional disputes between the aristocratic houses of France, such asthe House of Bourbon and House of Guise (Lorraine), and both sidesreceived assistance from foreign sources , focusing on a young womannamed Marie De Mezières (Mélanie Thierry in the title role) who fallsin love for her dashing cousin Henri De Guiseis (Gaspard Ulliel) butshe is forced into marriage with the well-connected nobleman PhilippeDe Montpensier (Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet), who she has never met ,while she falls passionately in love with another man . When Philippeis called away to battle , she is taken in the care of Count Chabannes(Lambert Wilson) , an aging aristocrat , and soon later becomesinvolved to the sexual and political intrigues of court , including thethrone heir , Duc d'Anjou (Raphaël Personnaz) and Queen , Catherine ofMedicis (Evelina Meghnagi).
This historic drama contains romance , intrigue , swordplay ,spectacular battles and wonderful outdoors . It's a sweeping andromantic historical epic with a simple message : passion destroyseverything . The film packs a French all-star-cast , as it stars modelturned actress , Melaney Thierry , Lambert Wilson as Comte De Chabannes, Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet as Prince De Montpensier , Gaspard Ullielas Henri De Guise and Raphaël Personnaz as Duc D'Anjou . Evocative andimaginative Original Music by Philippe Sarde . Gorgeous and luxuriousCinematography by Bruno De Keyzer . Impressive Production Design byGuy-Claude François , showing breathtaking outdoors , luxurious palacesand rousing Chateaus . The picture was well directed by BertrandTavernier, based on the short story by author 'Madame De La Fayette'.Bertrand is a good French director who has been making from the 70snotorious films such as The clockmaker 1974 , The judge and theassassin 1976 , 1280 souls 1981 , A Sunday in the country 1984 , Roundmidnight 1986 , law 627 , Daughter's Dartagnan 1994 , Captain Conan1995 , All starts today 1999 , Laissez-passer 2002 and In the electricmist 2009 .
The flick is inspired by historical events , though predominates thepassional drama . The actual deeds were the following : The longconflict involved the factional fights between the aristocratic housesof France and Catholic and Protestant ; specially St. Bartholomew's Daymassacre (1572) , as the Queen Mother , Catherina of Medicis becameincreasingly fearful of the unchecked power wielded by Coligny and hissupporters, especially as it became clear that Coligny was pursuing analliance with the Dutch Protestant rebels. Coligny, along with manyother Calvinist nobles, arrived in Paris for the wedding of theCatholic Princess Marguerite de Valois to the Protestant Henry ofNavarre on August 18. On August 22, an assassin made a failed attempton Coligny's life, shooting him in the street .Amidst fears of aHuguenot coup, the Duke of Guise and his supporters acted. In the earlymorning of August 24, they killed Coligny in his lodgings . Coligny'sbody was thrown from the window into the street, and was subsequentlymutilated, castrated, dragged through the mud, thrown in the river,suspended on a gallows and burned by the Parisian crowd. For the nextfive days, the city erupted as Catholics massacred Calvinist men, womenand children, and looted their houses, which was neither approved ofnor predicted by the king. Over the next few weeks, the disorder spreadto more than a dozen cities across France. Historians estimate that2,000 Huguenots were killed in Paris and thousands more in theprovinces; in all, perhaps 10,000 people were killed. Henry of Navarreand his cousin, the young Prince of Condé, managed to avoid death byagreeing to convert to Catholicism; both would repudiate theirconversions once they escaped Paris.Some assert that the Edict ofNantes in 1598 concluded the wars, although a resurgence of rebelliousactivity following this leads some to believe the Peace of Alais in1629 is the actual conclusion. However, the Massacre of Vassy in 1562is agreed to begin the Wars of Religion and the Edict of Nantes atleast ended this series of conflicts. During this time, complexdiplomatic negotiations and agreements of peace were followed byrenewed conflict and power struggles.At the conclusion of the conflictin 1598, Huguenots were granted substantial rights and freedoms by theEdict of Nantes, though it did not end hostility towards them. The warsweakened the authority of the monarchy, already fragile under the ruleof Francis II and then Charles IX, though it later reaffirmed its roleunder Henry IV.
The Princess is sumptuously filmed, with a great eye for setting andcostume. The eponymous princess is very well acted.
So why is there a slight air of disappointment when you get to the end.Partly it is because her husband and the pretty boy who would be herlover, are just a trifle wooden; the great weakness though is the fightscenes. They are filmed well but lack credibility. You can sense therehearsals and guess what will happen next. The battle scenes are justconfusing, not in the fog of war sense, but in having no explanationwhy a soldier would jump off an unwounded horse to fight on the ground.It may have looked exciting, marginally, but verged on the ridiculous.
That aside, the story bounds along quite well and will take your mindoff the next banking crisis.
What I think was done very well in this film by Tavernier was thedecors. Tavernier being a very gifted and talented director when facedwith the challenge of recreating the middle ages succeeds like no otherdirector in very recent memory. The exteriors, interiors and costumesare presented convincingly. He shows the nature without overdoing it.We are in the middle ages without being shown cliché after cliché.
There was one fact which may or may not be hard to swallow. I thinkthere may be a divide amongst spectators in regards to the young cast,the exception being Lambert Wilson who in my opinion was exceptional ashe was in the other film of this year Des Hommes et Des Dieux. While Icould tolerate the young cast I didn't by no means fall in love withthem, which could have affected my slight detachment from the action onscreen. The weakest in my opinion, and I'm sure there will be some whodisagree with me and they are right to do so, was the princess herself.I can't explain it but when she was on the screen I was almost at thepoint of irritation. Admittedly this is quite subjective and I didn'tfind her looks and full lips as my ideal of beauty, moreover I foundher insatiable in her desires but I think I was suppose to believe shewas passionate. If I didn't believe that the Princesse was a creatureof passion but more-so a selfish materialist how could I fall in lovewith the story? Aside from minor nitpicking, I found the sparse battlescenes excellent! It was such a refreshing experience to see battlestreated in this way. I almost wish there was more.
What I take from this film was a real master class in how to render amedieval world. As I predicted a director of Tavernier caliber wouldnot get this wrong.Was the above