Supposedly, when Madame de Lafayette wrote her 17th century novella, The Princess of Montpensier, she was chronicling the romantic intrigues of her own time. Propriety, however, prevented her from making the parallels between her fictional characters and their real-life counterparts too obvious, so she displaced the drama some 60 years earlier, when France was torn apart by a civil war between Catholics and Protestants.
Come the 21st century, and director Bertrand Tavernier is able to bring some modern insight -- plus a love for John Ford's way of weaving strong character with historical action -- to his lush, stylish adaptation of the tale. With Mélanie Thierry as the young princess trapped between duty to her family and a growing realization of her own identity, Lambert Wilson as the guardian who instills the spark of autonomy in her, and Gaspard Ulliel and Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet as the men who fall in love with her almost in spite of themselves, The Princess of Montpensier is an ambitious melding of history and romantic drama.
Click on the player to hear my interview with Tavernier.
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