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Farewell, My Queen 

The early days of the French Revolution in the pressure cooker of Versailles

click to enlarge farewell_my_queen_5.jpg

In the early days of the French Revolution, the court at Versailles is in denial, trying to maintain its extravagant normalcy, as the Parisian masses are circulating a list of heads-to-be-chopped—Benoît Jacquot’s Versailles is claustrophobic and insular, as tension builds and luxury loses its shine. We learn of these events through Sidonie Laborde (Léa Seydoux), a servant who reads to the queen, Marie Antoinette (Diane Kruger). We experience almost none of the outside world, but all of the queen’s intimate interactions, including her sexually charged friendship with the Duchesse of Polignac (Virginie Ledoyen). Jacquot shows us little of the grand Versailles, and much of the servants’ chambers, kitchen and candlelit hallways—effective, and certainly far from a Hollywood period piece. Things become increasingly tense, but we never see the bloodshed—instead, Jacquot leaves it implied, since everyone knows the ending.


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