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The Princess Of Montpensier [DVD]
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THE PRINCESS OF MONTPENSIER based on a story by Madame de Lafayette, directed by Bertrand Tavernier, starring Mélanie Thierry, Gaspard Ulliel, Lambert Wilson and Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet.
In Sixteen Century France a savage religious war is ripping the country apart. Carnage, corruption and mayhem stalk the land, taking lives and shaping history. Amidst the tragedy, loss and power struggles of war, a young aristocratic heiress by the name of Marie DeMezieres has fallen passionately in love with the dashing Henri DeGuise. But due to the political ambitions of her manipulative and controlling father Marie has been forced into an arranged marriage to the Prince of Montpensier. Between duty and passion can Marie fight her fate to reclaim her destiny?
The Princess of Montpensier is a vivid and compelling historic drama. A sweeping epic of love, rivalry, intrigue and conflict, told in a language that can only be described as pure cinema.
- 60 min Making Of directed by Pierre-Henry Gilbert
- UK exclusive Interview With Bertrand Tavernier
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Many of the characters are two-dimensional, prone to sudden unconvincing changes in behaviour, or are caricatured (the tutor came across to me as the most "real" person), and the scenes are often too stylised for one to be deeply affected by the drama. I found myself more moved by the tutor's plight than the fate of the princess, which I do not think was the author's intention. Lacking a grounding in French history, I found some of the details hard to follow, but the bitter mistrust between the Catholics and Protestants forms an interesting background and overall it is quite entertaining.
The film is beautifully set in its era using the Comte de Chabannes, a retired soldier, as an example of its rational side. It features the usual historical cast: Guise, Anjou (very convincingly played), and the Queen Mother; all well acted in splendid costume and sets, not quite the equal of Vatel but then the monarchy was not as wealthy as that of Louis. However, within this setting the story is the old, old, one of unrequited love. Lambert Wilson as the almost Don Quixote (he even has the hat) Comte de Chabannes, Mélanie Thierry as the child-like but beautiful Princesse (at times with an almost Bardot look), Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet as the shambling, decent but jealous husband, and other excellent performances just add to a piece whose general trajectory is doomward.
I think it will be a mite too long for many. Watching La Reine Margot before will also help you with understanding the "runners and riders" of the Wars of Religion.
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Ordered and arrived on time.
Not a lot more I can say.