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The night of August 24, 1572, is known as the Massacre of St. Bartholomew. In France a religious war is raging. In order to impose peace a forced wedding is arranged between Margot de Valois, sister of the immature Catholic King Charles IX, and the Hugenot King Henri of Navarre. Catherine of Medici maintains her behind-the-scenes power by ordering assaults, poisonings, and instigations to incest. Written by
Oliver 'Asana' Duex <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Historic epics don't come more epic than this effort from France. It isn't done justice on the small screen, but in the cinema, one can really appreciate the monumental scale of this film. Its source is the novel by Alexandre Dumas about historical events in 16th Century Paris, concerning the Catholic monarchy's attempts to remove the threat of the Huguenot Protestants, culminating in the St Bartholemew's Day massacre of the Heguenots in 1572. In particular, the film focuses on the exploitation of Margot, the sister of the King of France, by her mother Catherine di Medici (the real power behind the throne)to achieve these ends.
Make no mistakes, this film is bathed in blood. The aftermath of the massacre is particularly hard to swallow. However, the caliber of film making here is suburb. The production is quite stunning, in particular Moidel Bickel's excellent costumes. Verna Lisi, as Catherine di Medici, is in top form, cool and magnificent as the power broker Queen Mother. Isabelle Adjani, France's answer to Meryl Streep, has the most wonderful and expressive face, with enormous eyes that radiate the emotions of this complex character.
This film is long, tough going and (shock/horror) it has subtitles! Don't be so easily put off, as this is a film truly worth seeing.
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