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An episodic look at Grace Elliott (1760-1823) and Philippe, the Duke of Orleans, during the French Revolution. In 1790, they are friends, no longer lovers. He suggests she leave France, she warns him to quit the Revolution. In 1792, she must escape Paris on foot. Less than a month later, she returns on an errand of mercy and shows great courage saving the governor of Tuileries. The Duke in turn steps in to protect Grace. In early 1793, she demands a promise from the Duke that he vote to spare Louis's life; he does not, and Grace is furious. In April, he warns her of a search; she is arrested and brought before the committee. Orleans, too, is suspect. The guillotine awaits. Written by
Well worth seeing--and very different from the usual film from this famous director.
This film from Eric Rohmer is very, very unusual. While it's not unusual to use matte paintings to create effects (such as to paint in buildings in the background to cover up modern skyscrapers for period films), here Rohmer uses another technique--one I have never seen before in a full-length film. The movie makes no attempt to blend in what is real and what isn't. Instead, in many scenes, you have folks walking within giant paintings which appear to have been painted during the 18th century--when the film was to have occurred. It is VERY striking and very unusual--and you can't help but notice it.
The story is an essentially true story about a woman named Grace Elliott--a very, very interesting lady. She was the mistress of the future King George IV of Britain and after giving birth to an illegitimate child, she left to live in France. There she became the mistress of the King of France's cousin, the Duke of Orleans. However, the timing for all this was very poor. That's because a few years later, the French Revolution arrived--and her now ex-lover, the Duke, begs her to leave the country. She insists she's safe and time passes. And, as time passes, the country becomes more paranoid and more self-destructive--killing off aristocrats and foreigners in the wake of a now insane revolution.
At this point in time, the Duke and Elliott have changed. Now, the liberal-minded Duke has embraced the Revolution and is an official in its new government. She, on the other hand, is a die-hard royalist who really should keep her opinions to herself. Yet, despite their different paths, they remained friends--though there was a lot of tension between them, as the Duke eventually consented to the execution of the King--something Elliott had a hard time forgiving. What's next for this unusual lady? See for yourself in this excellent film.
The film was based in part on the autobiography of Elliott--which was published after her death. Earlier I said the story is ESSENTIALLY true because I did some reading and found that she had a tendency to sometimes 'embellish' the facts, though what's in the film is what occurred. Overall, a fascinating look into the insanity of the French Revolution and at a particularly unusual woman. Well worth seeing.
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