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Paris, 1920s. Marguerite Dumont is a wealthy woman, lover of the music and the opera. She loves to sing for her friends, although she's not a good singer. Both her friends and her husband have kept her fantasy. The problem begins when she decides to perform in front of a real audience.Written by
The film had more than 1 million admissions in France. See more »
Placed in Paris starting from September 1920, and with an almost faithful commitment to the period, except for the sequence when Marguerite, Baronne Dumont sings whilst motion picture images are first projected onto a white sheet and then onto her white clothing. Incorrectly there is the use of a 16mm silent movie film that appears to be projected from a 16mm film projector, however 16mm film was not invented by Eastman Kodak in the USA until 1923. In France in 1922 Pathé Frères invented their 9.5mm silent movie film as part of the Pathé Baby amateur film system, which would have been more likely to be in use in this era.
For the era the incorrect number countdown leader is projected, and any fully trained projectionist would notice the error, and in 1920 we see the 1965 "SMPTE Universal Leader" that was designed and used for television projection applications. Featuring a continuous countdown from eight to two (measured in seconds, rather than feet), with the numbers in the center of a target with two white circles and a rotating "clock arm" animation. "SMPTE Universal Leader" did not gain widespread acceptance theatrically which still used from 1930 "The Academy Leader", and from 1951 "The Society Leader" (both are 16 frames/foot in 35mm film), counting down from eleven to three, and a quick beep is heard at three, with all the numbers appearing upside down. The words 'SIX' and 'NINE' usually appear below their respective numbers.
The Academy leader is specified by SMPTE 301.. The Universal Leader is specified by ANSI/SMPTE 55.
The Society [aka All-Purpose] Leader (1951) is quite complex in design, and is recognizable by its circles with slender arrows pointing to the sides, top, and bottom of each frame (akin to cross-hairs). The numbering is from 11 to 3, but oriented the correct way up, however the SIX and NINE appear as words only. The numbers are again spaced at one foot intervals, i.e. at every sixteenth frame, with 'echoes' of each number in the immediately adjacent frames (so each number actually appears thrice). The Universal [a.k.a. Television] Leader (1965) is the most widely recognized with the familiar 'clocksweep' animated graphic, and the numbering used is from 8 to 2 and with duration of precisely 8secs@24fps. All numbers are the correct way up, and are spaced at 24-frame (1 second) intervals. Since the number 9 has been eliminated, the 6 appears only as a numeral. See more »
Marguerite Dupont seems to have it all – great riches, a husband she loves and a passion for music. On the inside she is striving for her husband's attention and her love of singing gradually turns into an obsession. She arranges private recitals and, with the help of some new friends, who have dubious agenda, is training to step on the stage of the real opera house. There's only one problem, however. Marguerite's singing voice is terrible.
Placed in Paris of 1920 and inspired by the real life story of Florence Foster Jenkins, MARGUERITE is about a woman who would not let the truth to stand on the way of her desire to sing. Director Xavier Giannoli has a special interest in all things infamous. All his previous films examine the short distance between the infamy and fame and what one is capable of to step into the limelight. His Marguerite is an eccentric with a heart of gold, willfully portrayed by Catherine Frot, the actor whose status in France can only be compared with the one of Meryl Streep.
The movie is emotionally charged and finds a perfect balance between funny and sad. However it is a bit overloaded with characters and not every storyline finds a desirable resolution. With a lengthy running time, and multiple story arcs, MARGUERITE could become a perfect miniseries, which may happen in the future, considering the interest the directors have to Florence Foster Jenkins these days.
A little bit too long, but never boring, MARGUERITE is an exciting film that will hold your attention all the way through – an achievement for any film these days. With an exceptional performance by Catherine Frot, the movie's character study is impeccable and the real reason to see this period drama gem.
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