Young Queen Margot finds herself trapped in an arranged marriage amidst a religious war between Catholics and Protestants. She hopes to escape with a new lover, but finds herself imprisoned by her powerful and ruthless family.
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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 <email@example.com>
Patrice Chereau edited the original cut of the film (roughly 160 minutes) to a smaller 138 minutes for international release. This was due to a disappointing box-office performance in France and the criticism (by, among others, Variety critic Todd McCarthy) of the film as being too violent and often incoherent. The French press were scathing of this 'American censorship' (they described the film as having been 'given a face-lift' for American audiences) but the new version was defended by various French critics being both more coherent whilst also maintaining Chereau's artistic vision. The shorter cut was later released in France too, in the hopes of increasing the film's box-office takings. See more »
Margot's cloak as she approaches La Mole in the alley. See more »
You smelt of jasmine that morning. I thought: maybe she's ugly under her mask. Or disfigured. But it didn't matter. You wouldn't let me kiss you.
I thought, she's even lonelier than me. She loves as though she is seeking revenge.
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Everything about this picture is beautiful, even the ugliness is beautiful...an oxymoron, but the only way I can describe it. This is a stunning tale of 16th century sex and violence, with a dirty realism, but still an overlay of beauty.
Isabelle Adjani is intense, beautiful, and sensuous as Margot, the highly sexed, intelligent and dutiful sister of the doomed King Charles IX of France. She is forced into a marriage of political and religious convenience by her bitterly ambitious mother, Catherine de Medici (Virna Lisi) to the repulsive Henri Navarre (sympathetically played by Daniel Auteuil). There is a tremendous amount going on, and Margot's incest with her brothers is more than hinted at.
The searingly sensual Vincent Perez plays La Mole, who eventually becomes Margot's doomed lover. Their first encounter is an acrobatic feat of anonymous sex in an alleyway that is breath-taking. Their later love scenes are intensely erotic. This film only becomes better on repeat viewings. I found I was able to grasp more on my second viewing. There is so much going on, so many twists and turns and shocks, and the film is also quite long. It never lags, and even Margot's grudging tolerance, if not love, for her husband, is believingly portrayed. Very highly recommended.
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