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French Epic Opens Berlinale

Written by: FFT Webmaster | February 9th, 2012

A French period epic depicting the early stirrings of the French Revolution will officially open the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival on Thursday evening, February 9. FAREWELL MY QUEEN, from director Benoit Jacquot, stars Diane Kruger as the ill-fated Queen Marie Antoinette, who eventually loses her head after advising her starving subjects to eat cake. The film, an adaptation of Chantal Thomas’ prize-winning novel of the same name, is set in the early days of the French revolution as people begin to revolt against the court of King Louis XVI. The film co-stars Lea Seydoux (MIDNIGHT IN PARIS) and Virginie Ledoyen (ARMY OF CRIME). In a rarity for an opening night film, FAREWELL MY QUEEN will also run in competition for Berlin’s Gold and Silver Bears.

Opening scene: the rococo palace at Versailles in July 1789. There’s growing disquiet at the court of King Louis XVI: the people are defiant and the country is on the brink of revolution. Behind the scenes at the royal palaces, emergency plans are being made. Although nobody believes that this spells the end of the established order, everyone is talking of escape, including Queen Marie Antoinette and her entourage. The wily queen hatches a plan to have one of her ladies-in-waiting and her switch costumes, so the queen may escape the possible approaching apocalypse. Benoït Jacquot’s visually elaborate film portrays the early days of the French Revolution as seen through the eyes of the servants at Versailles and how the roles of the privileged and the underserved changes places quickly and dramatically. An historical drama with ironic overtones, the film cannot help but draw parallels to our present topsy-turvy world social order.

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