Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB
Original title: La Reine Margot
France/Italy/Germany, 1994. Renn Productions, France 2 Cinéma, D.A. Films, N.E.F. Filmproduktion und Vertriebs, Degeto Film, Arbeitsgemeinschaft der öffentlich-rechtlichen Rundfunkanstalten der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, WMG Film, RCS Films & TV, Centre National de la Cinématographie, Canal+, Miramax, Eurimages. Screenplay by Daniele Thompson, Patrice Chereau, dialogue by Daniele Thompson, based on the novel by Alexandre Dumas. Cinematography by Philippe Rousselot. Produced by Claude Berri. Music by Goran Bregovic. Production Design by Richard Peduzzi, Olivier Radot. Costume Design by Moidele Bickel. Film Editing by Francois Gedigier, Helene Viard. Academy Awards 1994. Cannes Film Festival 1994. Golden Globe Awards 1994. National Board of Review Awards 1994.
Sumptuous costumes and excellent action sequences highlight this French melodrama, though the excessive length might not work for all audiences. Isabelle Adjani is strong in the lead as a young Catholic princess who is manipulated into a marriage with a Protestant prince by her twisted mother (a terrifying Virna Lisi) which in turn draws many French Protestants into Paris for a giant celebration in honour of the wedding. The whole event is a ploy, actually, to enact one of the bloodiest murders in history that has since been referred to as the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, with thousands of Protestants killed point blank in the streets. The heart of this evil doesn’t escape the royal family, however, and a bloodbath ensues within the palace walls as well, and not even the innocent can escape. Beautiful to look at, and confidently avoids desperate grabs for attention, instead an intelligent experience.