In the first of the Angélique series, the beautiful feisty teenage heroine becomes entangled in a political assassination plot and is betrothed to a stranger who is twelve years her senior and a reputed sorcerer.
In this first part of the Angélique cycle, set in Mid-17th century France under the young Sun King Louis XIV, still struggling for his throne, while beggars and brigands roam the country, Angélique de Sancé de Monteloup, fifth child of an impoverished country nobleman in the Poitou marshlands, expected to struggle for a meager subsistence, educated in a nunnery, is betrothed at 17 to Joffrey de Peyrac, the 12 years older rich but cripple Comte de (count of) Peyrac de Morens and seigneur (Lord) of Toulouse, scarred in the face and said to be a sorcerer, in fact practicing oriental mining techniques which make his vast fortune. For the sake of her family, Angélique reluctantly agrees to the match but refuses the advances of her husband, who does not enforce his conjugal rights, wishing only to win her heart. As Angelique gradually discovers virtuous Peyrac's remarkable talents as scientist, musician and philosopher, she falls passionately in love with him. Joffrey's unusual way of life ... Written by
I don't know about the rest of the world, but this film saga is considered an absolute gem of European cinema here in the Czech Republic. Angelique marquise des anges - Translated as "Angelique, the marquise of angels" (aka Angelika Markyza Andelu) is the first of a five part historical epic, and might be considered to be the best of the series. The entire saga is about 10 hours long, so it's close to impossible to summarize the plot in one sitting, however, you can take my word for it - This one is really worth it. Although historic and a classic period piece, this is NOT your typical Jane Austen style. While based on a novel and set in 17th century France, this really does have it all. There is politics, intrigue, royal scandals, murder, betrayal, blackmail, torture, Satan worship, and rape. However, in the word's of Baz Luhrman it's about FREEDOM, BEAUTY, TRUTH and above all L-O-V-E. Move over Romeo & Juliet, Angeligue and Jofrey de Peyrac are timeless lovers with what the French call a certain ... "I don't know what".
The character of Angelique herself is unlike much we have seen in modern cinema. Not really categorized as a chic flick, nor does it promote feminism in a "in your face" kind of way, but take my word for it - This is one tough broad. Being blessed/cursed with flawless beauty, the woman has been to hell and back, but she just keeps on going. You cannot beat her. And those who have tried, have failed.
For interest, this splendid story has recently been turned into a magnificent musical adaptation here in Prague. Naturally, I have seen it - Breathtaking.
So to sum up, if you can find it, make the effort - It's different. Michelle Mercier - You go girl. Think of Barbarella in a Baroque gown and without the vacant expression and the questionable visuals. The art directions and costumes are enough to take your breath away.
Oh, I must mention this. The fact that this film was not honored with an Oscar for its musical score is just ridiculous. I can guarantee you, this film has the most magnificent film music you have ever heard anywhere. As much I worship Jerry Goldsmith, John Williams, James Horner, Alan Silvestri or Hans Zimmer, MICHEL MAGNES deserves to be immortalized for writing this score. See for yourselves and then let me know if I was right or if I was right.
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