Jeanne Poisson, the headstrong, ambitious foxy daughter of fishmonger and married to a physician, but witty and erudite, catches the eye and heart of French King Louis XV at a costumed ball... See full summary »
Hélène de Fougerolles,
Charlotte de Turckheim
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It's a cliché but also a painful truth that only hindsight gives meaning to the chaotic flow of events of the present. As of 2011, an epoch of financial crisis, the debates about drastic cuts in pensions, the bad state of public health, whether to increase taxes or give freedom to the people looking forward to improve the economy, it's as if the same problems that haunted France in the XVIII century are troubling us now. No further comments.
Louis XVI said to Malesherbes (one of his financial advisers), when he resigned: "I only wish I could do the same". The name of this film is illustrated throughout the film. His voice quivers, he changes of financial advisers when he should stick to one adviser. He was a weak man, and nobility and the clergy knew it before anybody else. The "Fronde" terrorized Turgot, Necker undid everything he did, when he was replaced, the people didn't trust Calonne, in short, when too many chiefs mean there's no government :).
Beautiful period music, specially in the end. Speaking of that, the musician's faces while they play during a sort of farcical play in honour of the king give us a subtle idea of the subservient role of everybody who was from the "third state" in that hierarchical society. As one nobleman says: "They have to pay taxes and work" :).
Raphaëlle Agogué as Marie Antoinette has a royal beauty, only matched by her lack of contact with reality. Matthieu Rozé (from "Central Nuit" TV series) is a haughty nobleman a bit rigid when viewed from nowaday's perspective, but probably representative of the ideals of the time. Voltaire and Beaumarchais's ideas of liberty were there, but somehow they didn't achieve much popularity.
The narrator's voice (Vinciane Millereau) is perfect. All the palaces and scenes of historic importance are fine. Some original camera views of the nobility already give us ominous hints of what we all know will happen.
The only quibble I have is that sometimes things are not as easy or stereotyped as we see here. I've never seen so much food together being eaten! I mean, we all know nobility committed excesses, but I guess this film shows them a bit too much, too oftenly. Like them using carriages to mount the stairs, and being too fat to be lifted. Or women's wigs, being so tall they couldn't enter into the carriages. By the way, they show the "excessive" nobility impersonated in old and not nice people. Again, it's biased for nobles weren't just interested in eating.
Watch this hidden gem even if you are not interested in history. No previous knowledge is required, all the necessary facts are shown here in a lively fashion.
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