Sunday, January 20, 2008

Marie Antoinette

My favorite movie of last year was Marie Antoinette by Sophia Coppola ( one of my favorite directors ). I think it really is one of the most visually stunning movies I've ever seen ( and I've seen a LOT of movies! ) Shot on location at Versailles - the movie is told as a story not only of a girl and of her private life behind the public facade, but of a place - Versailles. I haven't been to Versailles yet, but it is probably #1 on my list of places to visit: I have a few books on the stunning palace and grounds. Here you can see Sophia directing the lead, Kirsten Dunst.
Sophia Coppola's movie is based on Antoinia Fraser's in depth book on Marie Antoinette ( antoine to her friends ). The book is extremely well researched and a fascinating story, but rather dry - almost academic. Still a good read.
The other resource for her movie was the 1938 movie with Norma Shearer of the same title. Sophia's movie is basically a remake of that movie except more lush and accurate. I mean...word for word in some parts! THe 1938 version is more of a hollywood 30's spectacle and goes more for the feeling of 18th century france than anywhere near a faithful depiction -however a few things stand out in the movie such as the shot of Marie running down the huge staircase of the garden behind Versailles into the Orangerie for the part about the 'affair of the necklace'. A GORGEAUS shot and one that is actually pretty accurate visually speaking. Definitely check out this movie -it is full of 1930's fun with ELABORATE costumes -one shown below.

Another thing a little 'off' with each movies was that while Marie has gone down in history as a 'beauty' - she really wasn't.....maybe compared to the other inbred nobility. Now, she wasn't ugly by any means - she is what I beleive you call 'a handsome woman'. Here are some of the more accurate and most famous portraits of her by Le Brun, above. As you can see, she is no Kirsten Dunst ( who is charming and seen on the movie poster below ) or Norma Shearer ( one of the screen beauties of the 30s, against the red background ).

Now -for the record - Marie Antoinette was more a tragic figure of circumstance -she was not an evil queen, she never said 'let them eat cake' and if anything was actually an extremely sympathetic queen. So, lighten up on her already, she wasn't so bad!

1 comment:

All Things Bright and Beautiful... said...

I am a fan, I am a FAN!! Great post :-)