The Princess of Montpensier (15)
Starring: Mélanie Thierry, Lambert Wilson
Friday 08 July 2011
Adapted from Mme de La Fayette's 1662 novel, this complicated but riveting love story unfolds against the backdrop of France's savage wars of religion.
Its eponym is Marie de Mezieres (Mélanie Thierry), a spirited young heiress married off by her father to the Prince de Montpensier, despite being in love with his cousin the Duc de Guise. The centre of the film, however, is occupied by a war-wearied nobleman, Chabannes (Lambert Wilson), one-time mentor to the Prince who now entrusts him with the education of his wife; the conversations between tutor and the coltish princess, encompassing poetry, philosophy, faith and astronomy, lend an unexpectedly cerebral dimension to what might have been a mere court intrigue.
The film examines the idea of a young woman struggling for independence in a society that reduces her to a chattel – a wedding night scene plays as a groteseque charade – and the cynical machinations of men that would perpetuate the system. In the pivotal role of Chabannes, an honourable man doomed twice to fall between opposing forces, Wilson gives a magnificent account of a public renegade and secret romantic. Bertrand Tavernier, in his 70th year, directs with the energy and panache of a much younger man.
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Al Pacino on suffering from depression: 'It can last and it's terrifying'
- 2 Half of young women unable to ‘locate vagina’ and 65% find it difficult to say the word
- 3 Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
Jessica Chastain demands Scarlett Johansson-fronted Marvel superhero movie
Downton Abbey series 5 start date revealed: ITV drama to return in late September
Nicki Minaj suffers wardrobe malfunction during MTV VMAs performance with Ariana Grande and Jessie J
How to read Will Self: Unlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
New Netflix releases: Films and TV shows coming in September 2014
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ashya King: 'Cruel NHS has not given us the treatment we need', says father of five-year-old with brain tumour who fled to Spain