Friday, May 05, 2006

Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette: Two great tastes that taste great together???

(Please note: "Marie Antoinette" is the style Columbia's going with Stateside, although the movie is listed in the IMDB as "Marie-Antoinette", so -- take your pick.)

Normally, I would be excited by the prospect of such a film, but Hollywood has a million ways to muck it up, and . . . well, I think my head says it all about the director. I understand she's going with the Antonia Fraser bio instead of more recent, better-researched books . . . that's like doing a movie on the Princess of Wales based on those Andrew Whasisname books, instead of real biographies that will come out once everyone's dead. Please. And, while I think using her muse Kirsten Dunst is fine, Coppola nepotism once again rears its unpleasant head in the casting of Jason Schwartzman as Louis XVI. What the heck??? Okay, you couldn't get Alain Delon, but the only other young actor available was your cousin? Who doesn't even look vaguely French? Riiiiiiiiiiiight. Okay, you're not even trying here. Well, at least the movie will look pretty. Will somebody pass me some Sofia champagne?

marieantoinette 1
Jason Schwartzman and Kirsten Dunst in "Marie Antoinette."
Photo © Columbia Pictures.

marieantoinette 2
Mary Nighy, Kirsten Dunst and Judy Davis in "Marie Antoinette."
(I think they are at Mass.)
Photo © Columbia Pictures.

This is about the only real article I could find on the film out on the 'Net, from a Dutch site, published last September. I've translated it here with the help of BabelFish -- any errors are my own, obviously. I tried to contact "Dave" but was unable to; if he has any objections to my translation or usage, please let me know!

Trailer: Marie-Antoinette, a new film by Sofia Coppola

After being overloaded with prizes for “Lost in Translation”, Sofia Coppola traveled to France to film the life of French queen Marie-Antoinette. Coppola could have polished her knowledge of French history considerably for this ambitious project; she nevertheless claimed to the press that she knew the tale of the young queen well and was fascinated by the fact that Marie-Antoinette was forced by circumstances into playing such an important role in history.

Marie-Antoinette (1755-1793) was one of the numerous children of the Holy Roman Emperor Francis I and Empress Maria Theresia of Austria. In 1770, she married Louis XVI, who ascended the throne five years later. During Marie-Antoinette’s years as queen, Austrians criticized her for not using enough influence in France. However, in France, because of her foreign origin she became the source of derision. Although the queen interfered little with policy, she was considered a hostile influence because of her Austrian origin. Her name was connected with many scandals and appeared frequently in negative leaflets. Her popularity reached the absolute nadir.

At the time of the French Revolution the queen was incarcerated. Attempts to save her led to nothing. On 16 January 1793, Louis XVI was executed. In October of that year, the trial against Marie-Antoinette began, in which among other things she was accused of conspiracy and incest with her son. The queen was found guilty. On 16 October she followed her husband to the guillotine.

Kirsten Dunst is playing the role of Marie-Antoinette. Dunst worked with Sofia Coppola for “The Virgin Suicides”, Coppola's debut film. I do not find her appealing, but many directors remain faithful to the actors with whom they started. Here you can see the first pictures of the film with this rather bizarre but surprising musical trailer.

The music choice is strange, but that provides immediately another discussion point for this "costume drama". Visually, everything you see there is staggering in any case. However, what to me is worrisome, at first sight, is the cast. To start with: Louis XVI. This role is cast with Francis Ford Coppola’s nephew, and Sofia Coppola’s cousin, Jason Schwartzman. We know Jason from teenager films such as “Slackers”, “Spun” and more recently in “Bewitched” and “Shopgirl” [and, duh, "Rushmore"!]. He is funny . . . but casting him as the King of France?

The Count Mercy d'Argenteau is played by the television comic actor Steve Coogan. I have less and less against the use of TV actors, because the quality of TV shows has greatly improved; but, again, Steve is not exactly an actor whom you cast in an 18th-century drama. Neither are Rip Torn (King Louis XV), Asia Argento (Madame du Barry) or Molly Shannon (Anne Victoire).

I hope what we see with this film doesn’t give us a bad impression for “Lost in Translation 2”.

The film set to release in October of 2006.
09-12-2005, 15:59:36 © Dave

Rip Torn as Louis XV? That is an act of the imagination. Oh, Sofia.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are a dumb literalist, you still think Davy Crockett wore a coon skin cap, yet you're annoyed that Brad Pitt's Jesse James was soo slooooooow, and the music in Marie Antoinette, Gaaad ... ever heard of deliberate anachronism. Duh!

Oooh, an you got a bl-o-o-og!

PS Like the copy paste from Wikipedia.

8/12/2008 07:01:00 PM  

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