Sunday, October 3, 2010

L'évasion de Louis XVI (2009)


From left to right: Madame de Tourzel, the Dauphin Louis-Charles, Marie-Antoinette, Louis XVI, Madame Royale, Madame Elisabeth
As I have said before, Louis XVI is grossly misrepresented in most films and novels and even in many biographies. However, a remarkable film debuted on French television last year. It is L'évasion de Louis XVI. and it portrays Louis XVI as never before in a popular drama, during his brave attempt to save his family from the violence of the Revolution. Based upon the remarkable scholarship of Jean-Christian Petitfils, King Louis is the central character; he is shown as the virile and courageous Louis whom I encountered in my research for Trianon. Madame Elisabeth is depicted in the film; the pious sister of the King is usually ignored in movies. The film is said to be well-cast and well-acted, with the young actress who plays Madame Royale resembling the princess to perfection. As with most of the quality works dealing with the royal family, the film is only available in French.

Trailer: HERE.
Review from Le Figaro: HERE.

 Discussion by the experts, HERE. Share

14 comments:

Tertium Quid said...

You are almost always contrary to the conventional narrative, which maintains that the French Revolution was extreme means at extreme times to remedy extreme evils of Church and State.

Thank you!

Leslie Carroll said...

I must see this! Thank you for posting the link!

Matterhorn said...

My goodness, what a coincidence! I was just reading about this film, and watched the trailer, in the last few days!

queridogideon said...

Hmm... I 'm afraid I do not agree. I thought the mini-serie was amusing, but FAR from reality. Actually it repeats some abusive stereotypes about Marie Antoinette (frivolous and ignorant)and adds some new characteristics of the King: an agressive womaniser, obsessed with violence and power.

Matterhorn said...

That is interesting. I'll admit the trailer did make me a bit skeptical, although the film sounded promising from the various reviews.

I guess you can't win for losing, with popular portrayals of this couple.

elena maria vidal said...

I have the sense that there is a little too much Fersen in it. The Count would never have grabbed the Queen from behind as in the trailer. He had too much respect for her and for Louis. I still would love to see it!

queridogideon said...

Yes Elena, it's nice seeing it, there's some good stuff in it, but I think the portrayal of our beloved queen is disturbing (she's portrayed as a 'dumb blond' in this show, FAR from what this great woman was in reality esp. during the revolution) and also the king's character is far from the truth: he was not (unlike Louis XIII, XIV and XV) a womanizer.
I didn't think there's too much Fersen in it though, cannot recall seeing him grapping MA from behind in it, but if so, of course that would be far from the truth.
The only thing that's pretty much accurate is the protrayal of Mme. Elisabeth.
Oh, and the hair of the queen in this production is just ridiculous!

queridogideon said...

PS I really prefer the French old school representations of Marie Antoinette, like the Michele Morgan-movie or this mini-series from the 70s:

http://www.ina.fr/video/CAA7500819301/marie-antoinette.fr.html

http://www.ina.fr/video/CPA76069312/le-fleau-des-francais.fr.html

elena maria vidal said...

Yes, that white wig is awful. As if the Queen would wear such a thing. It is frustrating because so much of it looks good.

Matterhorn said...

The actress playing Madame Royale looks a bit too old for the role, perhaps?

elena maria vidal said...

I think she looks just right from clips I have seen- a lanky 12 year old.

Kaitlyn said...

My, my I am quite late commenting on this, but no matter! I have seen the film and rather enjoyed it, although I did not understand a word of it, as I cannot speak French. I was greatly pleased with how Louis was portrayed; he was quite handsome! I would like to believe that the good King was in fact, a good looking man. Yes, there was a good deal of Fersen in this. There was also an interesting scene where Louis confronts his wife on that very subject. I wish so much this was available in English, or at least with subtitles because I am curious about what was being said in this scene! I do believe the family dynamics were well done; however, and it put the royal family in a very sympathetic light. Overall, well done! I highly recommend it. And if anyone is fluent in French, please feel free to translate some of those scenes for us!

Kaitlyn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kaitlyn said...

*Edited*

My, my, I am quite late in commenting on this but oh well! I have seen this film and was impressed, for the most part.

I do wish; however, that it at least had English subtitles because I do not speak a word of French! There was a good deal of Fersen in this, which I wish had been left out. In fact, there was a scene where Louis confronted his wife about him and I so would have liked to know what was being said.

Overall, I think the film captured the mood of their escape and portrayed the family in a sympathetic light. I was most pleased with the actor who played Louis. He was quite handsome! This is a welcome change from the stereotypes that Louis was an overweight, unattractive man. I believe he was rather handsome when he was younger.

At certain points, though, he seems out of character, rather aggressive. Furthermore, poor Marie Antoinette is shown to be frivolous and rather silly during some of the film, which is not accurate. Such a shame people seem to pick and choose to whom to be favorable. Either Louis or Antoinette must appear ridiculous in any version. It seems nobody wishes to cast them both in a positive light. They had their faults, yes, as we all do. But I do not believe in the stereotypes nor do I believe they were indifferent to one another and their people.

Overall, interesting film! And it would be most appreciated if someone who is fluent in French might translate some scenes!