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Farewell, My Queen

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



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.

Related Film

Farewell, My Queen (Les adieux a la reine)

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Director: Benoit Jacquot

Writer: Chantal Thomas, Gilles Taurand and Benoit Jacquot

Producer: Christophe Valette, Jean-Pierre Guerin, Kristina Larsen and Pedro Uriol

Cast: Léa Seydoux, Diane Kruger, Virginie Ledoyen, Xavier Beauvois, Noémie Lvovsky, Michel Robin, Julie-Marie Parmentier, Lolita Chammah, Marthe Caufman and Mladimir Gonsigny

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