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
The Lady and the Duke focuses on the relationship between Lady Grace Elliot and the Duke of Orleans during the French Revolution. No longer lovers, they have forged a close friendship, despite their political disagreements. They grapple with the consequences of the fall of the monarchy and the creation of a new society. An era that offers opportunity for heroism, and the threat of the guillotine one false move away. Octogenarian Eric Rohmer embraces 21st century technology to create unique but period-congruent visuals. His facility with actors is also in evidence here. Recent comments may erroneously lead readers to conclude The Lady and the Duke is a demanding, stodgy film. To the contrary, mainstream audiences willing to read subtitles will be easily engaged and moved. Admittedly, those with impaired attention spans and no historical curiosity should stick to action flicks and teen comedies. There are films-Bresson's Lancelot and Ruiz's Time Regained come to mind- made for a literate,intellectual audience. This film's rich rewards are much more accessible.
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