Screen/Society--Tournees French Film Festival--"Farewell, My Queen" [35mm]
Film Screening: "Les adieux à la reine" ("Farewell My Queen") (Benoît Jacquot, 2012, 100 min, France/Spain, in French, German, Italian, and English with English subtitles, Color, 35mm) -- Benoît Jacquot's nimble, lush adaptation of Chantal Thomas's 2003 novel about the chaos at Versailles on the eve of the 1789 revolution is told not through the vantage point of the monarchs but through the eyes of Sidonie, the besotted reader to Marie Antoinette. Compressed to four tumultuous days (July 14-17) and taking place almost entirely within the actual royal palace, "Farewell, My Queen" tracks its protagonist relentlessly: The camera is often positioned just a few inches behind Sidonie. "Your love of the queen makes you blind to her caprice," one of Louis XVI's historians tells Sidonie, and the pleasure of Jacquot's film is in watching various strains of discreet yet heated, deluded passionate attachment performed. Itchy Sidonie may thrill, however demurely, to the queen's applying rosewood water to her mosquito bites, but she will seethe in silent jealousy as she watches, unnoticed, Marie Antoinette interlace fingers with and coo over her most prized pet, Gabrielle de Polignac, who makes la reine lose her mind before she loses her head.// Made possible by the support of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, the French Ministry of Culture (CNC), the Florence Gould Foundation, the Grand Marnier Foundation, and highbrow entertainment.