Friday, January 18, 2013

Now on DVD: Farewell, My Queen


This book sounds fantastic! I wish I'd read it already as it just came out on Blu-Ray and DVD. 
Farewell My Queen  Written by Chantal Thomas 
It was once the job of Madame Agathe-Sidonie Laborde to read books aloud to Marie-Antoinette. Now exiled in Vienna, she looks back twenty-one years to the legendary opulence of Versailles and meticulously reconstructs July 14, 15 and 16 of 1789. When Agathe-Sidonie is summoned to the Queen's side on the morning of the 14th, Versailles is a miniature universe, sparkling with every outward appearance of happiness and power, peopled with nobles of minutely calibrated rank, and run according to a hundred-year-old ritual called the Perfect Day. But with the shocking news that someone has woken the King in the night, order begins to disintegrate and word of the fall of the Bastille seeps into court. Soon Versailles's beauty is nothing more than a shell encasing rising panic and chaos. Agathe-Sidonie watches as the Queen's attempts to flee are aborted; her most intimate friend betrays her; and the King, appearing to sleepwalk through this crisis, never alters his routine of visiting the Apollo Salon several times a day to consult a giant crystal thermometer. From the tiniest garret to the Hall of Mirrors, where Marie-Antoinette stands alone and terrified in the dark, Chantal Thomas shows us a world on the edge of oblivion and an intimate portrait of the woman who, like "fire in motion," was its center.
I want to read this book, and yes, see the film, if only to discover exactly what the Perfect Day is! And the idea that the whole tale takes place in 3 short days in July - during the fall of the Bastille - adds to my interest.  I haven't been interested in reading historical fiction in quite awhile ... this one has changed my mind!

And here's how they describe the movie on Rotten Tomatoes where critics have given the highly acclaimed art house film a 95% fresh rating. There was a lousy rating on the audience side but I would be surprised if very many folks have even seen it. Farewell, My Queen stars Diane Kruger who I just blogged about as playing the Seeker in the upcoming The Host. Her cool blonde aura and and haughty air help pull off Marie Antoinette in her early, entitled youth. It looks like Ms. Kruger gets a chance to get real as her world begins to crumble.
Farewell, My Queen marks the return of acclaimed director Benoît Jacquot and brilliantly captures the passions, debauchery, occasional glimpses of nobility and ultimately the chaos that engulfed the court of Marie Antoinette in the final days before the full-scale outbreak of the Revolution. Based on the best-selling novel by Chantal Thomas, the film stars Léa Seydoux as one of Marie's ladies-in-waiting, seemingly an innocent but quietly working her way into her mistress's special favors, until history tosses her fate onto a decidedly different path. With the action moving effortlessly from the gilded drawing rooms of the nobles to the back quarters of those who serve them, this is a period film at once accurate and sumptuous in its visual details and modern in its emotions. 


What I didn't know, and what the the movie tie-in book cover as well as the movie trailer shows, is that Marie Antoinette played around with bisexuality. Was the girl who quipped let 'em eat cake, the original girl gone wild?!

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