Marie-Antoinette * Sofia Coppola * 2006

Sofia Coppola made a costume-drama this time. The story is about the Viennese girl who is given in marriage to the future king Louis XVI of France and who became queen at the age of 19. Marie-Antoinette is played by the beautiful Kirsten Dunst who also appeared in Coppola’s “The Virgin Suicides” (1999). The film became a slightly typical historical costume film, but of course Coppola gave her own twist to the genre. Major stress on weird Versaille etiquette around ‘dressing the queen’ and the royal breakfast, but most earcatching is the ‘strange’ choice of music. Not just Renaissance sounds, but poprock, for example at a masked ball. Coppola managed very well to show the unavoidable end of the young kings (death by the guillotine, not shown in the film) because of the insecure reign of the king and the queen’s extreme spendings which both made the national debt extremely high. At the same time the country fell in poverty for which (not totally unfounded) the king and queen were blamed. On the other side, Coppola shows the apparent innocence of the beautiful queen, the fact that she is blamed for much that went wrong and the way she tried to maintain far away from her family and friends. The film is catching and I felt for the queen, while she was obviously not too smart in her decisions. “Marie-Antoinette” may indeed be a bit of a ‘ladies film’ (by and for women), but I really enjoyed this original history lesson with magnificent stages, costumes, acting, filming and montage. <14/7/06><4>

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