Tuesday, November 14, 2017

movie notes : Queen Margot (1994)

Queen Margot American movie poster
I don't think a scene of these two wrapped in a red blanket was actually in the theatrical release of the movie

Queen Margot (1994) is a French historical movie and I highly recommend it.

It is a 1994 movie based on the 1845 Alexander Dumas novel which in turn is based on French history from 1572. I don't particularly trust anything that is "based on a true story" so I'm a little uneasy about the historical veracity of a movie based on the novelization of history written 273 years after the events took place and the movie is close to half a millennium (422 years) away from the actual events

For much of the movie I had no idea what was going on in context of French history. Fortunately, it's characters follow human impulses and it wasn't hard to understand what was going on. I'm pretty sure the movie covered all 7 deadly sins (gluttony, lust, greed, hubris, despair, wrath, vainglory, and sloth).

La Reine Margot - Queen Margot french movie poster
the French movie poster

Isabelle Adjani is a fragile beauty but none the less a beauty and I couldn't keep my eyes off of her. In contrast, Henry III of Navarre is played by Daniel Auteuil an ugly frenchman (not to be cruel but he doesn't have conventional movie star good looks. He did a good job though). In the poster at the top of the post, they focus on Adjani and her other costar Vincent Perez.  Adjani is full of emotion but unlike her contemporary Juliette Binoche doesn't spend all her time crying (Binoche seemed to have a talent for beautifully weeping).

Margot and Catherine de Medici (Adjani and Virna Lisi who at times is a little scary looking and seems to age 20 years in the movie) 
The costumes and sets are wonderful. The violence in the movie starts slow but builds and then peaks with the St Barthelomew's Day Massacre. It is often a beautiful movie. At times this movie is like a French painting of Gericault or Delacroix come to life.

I didn't keep a death count during the movie because I usually only do that with action movies but I should have. It was a lot.

I actually sat in the theater during the entire end credits listening to the music. In particular, I found one song compelling; what I assumed at the time was a late medieval French folk song isn't. Obviously I don't speak French, the song "Elo Hi" is in Hebrew.

Elo Hi by Ofra Haza

La reine Margot – Soundtrack is an album by Goran Bregović, with the music that he composed for the 1994 film La Reine Margot, by Patrice Chéreau. Like most of Bregović's work, the melodies in this soundtrack are heavily influenced by Balkanfolk music tradition, but he also refurbished and recycled some of his previous work while he was the frontman of Bijelo dugme, one of the most influential Yugoslav rock bands of the 1970s and 1980s
An unexpected source of music for a French film.

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