La Reine Margot

Sunday night and the TV was up to its usual standard, had a browse through some DVD's i haven't seen in a while and came across this classic, i remembered how beautiful Isabelle Adjani was, it has been a few years since i seen this film, and it did not disappoint, as good as i remembered.

So if you are looking for a good French subtitled film, watch La Reine Margot.

Alexandre Dumas should certainly be satisfied with this superb adaptation of his classic. The setting is excellent and it gives a wonderful image of 16th century France. Naturally the highlight of the movie is the re-enactment of the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre. The horrendous scenes of the murders in all their crudity are terrific. The actors did a wonderful job here. Isabelle Adjani is, as usual, terrific. Her nude scenes, depicting the queen's adultery, lust and incestuous affairs are acted in such a way that they are a form of art. Vincent Perez is in one of his best roles - his interpretation of La Môle is second only to his acting in "Indochine". The great Virna Lisi is simply marvellous posing as Cathérine de Médicis - no wonder she won the Best Actress Award at Cannes. She is the ambitious woman par excellence, stopping at nothing to get where she wants, not even if she has to see her sons being killed one by one and sell her daughter in a convenient marriage to unite the Catholics and the Protestants. The others, especially Asia Argento, impersonating the tragic countess Charlotte de Sauve did a good job too. A very well deserved Prix du Jury.

Isabelle Adjani, one of the most talented and accomplished actresses in the history of French and world cinema, was born on June 27, 1955 in Paris, France in the 17th Arrondissement, a working class neighborhood on the Right Bank of the Seine. She and her younger brother Eric were raised by her Algerian father and German mother in Gennevilliers in the Hauts-de-Seine Department, an industrial city located to the northwest of Paris. She started acting before her teen years, appearing in amateur theater by the time she was 12 years old and in her first movie at the age of 14. It all started in 1969, at the Courbevoie school, when she was discovered by the assistant of director Bernard Toublanc-Michel who offered her the leading role of his film Le petit bougnat (1970). At that time, Isabelle lived quietly with her family in Gennevilliers. She wanted to take a degree in psychology and believed that cinema was a parallel holiday activity. But fate decided otherwise, when in 1971, Nina Companeez proposed her for Faustine et Le Bel Été. Henceforth, Isabelle thought only about theater and soon after enrolled at the famous Parisian drama art course Le Cours Florent. She was cast for the TV series Le secret des flamands (1974) (TV), where she played a young Renaissance Florentine, she was then spotted by Robert Hossein who hired her for The House of Bernarda Alba by Federico García Lorca. The piece was a triumph, and defied all the French Theater rules as Isabelle was the first actor to join the Comédie Française despite being under 18 and without coming from the National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts (where an actor should pass the obligatory entry examination of the Comédie Française after a 3 year study and upon graduation from the Conservatoire).

The teenage Adjani, already a great beauty, appeared with the Comédie Française, France's premier theater company, where she played the roles of Agnes in L'école des femmes (The School of Women) and Marianne in L'Avare (The Miser), both by Molière; Sister Marie-Francoise in Port Royal by Montherlant; and the title role in Jean Giraudoux's play Ondine, where she scored a great success while she was 17 (she repeated the performance on TV in 1975). Nevertheless, she rejected the exceptional twenty-year contract that had been proposed to her in 1974, left the Comédie Française (after being repeatedly told that she would regret it for the rest of her life) and returned to the cinema with the film what would prove to be her cinematic breakthrough La gifle (1974), (The Slapping) by director Claude Pinoteau, where she played Lino Ventura and Annie Girardot's adolescent daughter. The film was awarded the Prix Louis Delluc and Isabelle received the Prix Suzanne Bianchetti. Also that year, she played the title role in French cinema great 'Francois Truffaut''s L'histoire d'Adèle H. (1975) (The Story of Adele H.), a biographical film about Victor Hugo's daughter. The role brought her her first Best Actress nominations from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and from the French Academy (Oscar and César Awards, respectively).

Her beauty and talent made her an international star, and the multilingual Adjani has performed in English and German language films apart from her native French. She garnered the Cannes Film Festival's Best Actress Award for her English-language role in 1981 James Ivory's film Quartet (1981). The next year she won the first of her five César Awards for Possession (1981), which was directed by her then-lover (and father of her first child) Andrzej Zulawski. She won her second César in 1983 for her role in L'été meurtrier (1983) (One Deadly Summer) and her third for playing French sculptor Camille Claudel (1988) in the eponymous film. That role also brought her her second Best Actress Oscar nomination (the film, which was produced by her own production company, also was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar). She won her fourth César Award for La reine Margot (1994), and her record fifth César for La journée de la jupe (2008). This last film represented the high-water mark of her career.

Adjani has appeared in few movies lately, among them the female lead in Bon voyage (2003) and a cameo role in Monsieur Ibrahim et les fleurs du Coran (2003). As Adjani explained after quitting the Comédie Française, work is not her consuming passion. Lately, she has devoted most of her time to her private life, including raising her two children, Barnabé Nuytten and Gabriel-Kane Day-Lewis (born 1995).


Anonymous said…
Thanks for this article
More infos and news about french legend Isabelle Adjani:
' hope to see you there

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