war rages through Sixteenth
Century France, innocent beauty
inflames the hearts of four men, whose
fates are intertwined with the lovely
French noblewoman who desires one
man while married to another and
who enchants both her husbands
closest friend and the brother of the
King of France in The Princess
AGAINST A BACKGROUND OF WAR AND BIGOTRY, one woman is used as a pawn to further
her family's ambitions in Sixteenth Century France. In 1562, during the
reign of Charles IX of France, the wars of religion are raging.
After a lull, by the Autumn of 1567 war is resumed and the battle-weary Comte
François de Chabannes (Lambert Wilson: Of Gods And Men) commits an accidental
atrocity for which he is forever tainted, while already disgraced for having
changed his allegiance.
His friend and former pupil Philippe, Prince of Montpensier (Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet:
Love Songs), arrives just in time to save him from certain death and
they resume their friendship, despite François being excluded from both sides.
With peace seemingly within grasp, Philippe returns home to find that he is
to be married to the beautiful Marie de Mézières (Mélanie Theirry: Babylon
AD), heiress to a great fortune, in order to further increase his own family's
fortunes and prestige.
Marie had already been promised to Mayenne de Guise (César Domboy) but, as Mayenne
and his sister Catherine (Judith Chemla) are aware, she is in love with his
brother Henri, the Duc de Guise (Gaspard Ulliel: Hannibal Rising), who
is known as Le Balafré (Scarface). Marie believes Henri to be in love with her,
When Marie's father, the Marquis de Mézières (Philippe Magnan) tells her she
is to marry Montpensier she is distraught but, after an emotional heart-to-heart
with her mother, the Marquise (Florence Thomasin), she eventually submits rather
than being forced to enter a convent. Her father breaks the news to Mayenne's
concerned uncle, Cardinal de Lorraine (Jean-Paul Dubois).
Philippe's mother, The Duchesse de Montpensier (Christine Brücher) is ill and
in a lot of pain, but she gets no sympathy from her husband, the Duc de Montpensier
(Michel Vuillermoz), who cold-heartedly schemes for his family's future with
little thought for his wife's or his son's feelings.
Now married, Philippe is summoned by King Charles IX to join the war against
the Protestants. With the country a bloody battlefield, he takes his new young
wife to safety at Champigny, his remotest castle, leaving François as the Princess's
protector and tutor, overseeing the completion of her education prior to her
presentation at Court.
Inevitably François falls in love with the unhappy Marie, who is a willing student
despite still struggling with her passionate longing for Henri.
Amid tales of Henri de Guise's heroism on the battlefield, Philippe sends for
François. The war is over and they return to the castle, but all is not well
between Marie and Philippe. Fate and the changing course of the war conspire
and Henri comes to stay at Champigny in the company of the Duc D'Anjou (Raphaël
Personnaz: Blame It On Fidel), the future Henri III. Anjou also falls
in love with the Princess, and ignites a violent, passionate rivalry fuelled
by jealousy and betrayal.
The Princess Of Montpensier is a sharp and compulsive, beautifully-filmed
period romance and also features: Anatole de Bodinat as Joyeuse; Eric Rulliat
as Quelus; and Samuel Theis as La Valette.
Original Music is by Philippe Sarde; Cinematography by Bruno de Keyzer; Produced
by Frédérique Bourboulon, Laurent Brochand, and Eric Heumann; Writer is Jean
Cosmos, based on a short story by Madame de Lafayette; Directed by Bertrand
Tavernier (Director of Round Midnight, Coup de Torchon and It
All Starts Today).
The Princess Of Montpensier was nominated
for the Palme D'Or at the Cannes Film Festival 2010 and is out to own on DVD,
Blu-ray and EST on October 31 2011. Certificate: 15 | Total Running Time: 140
Minutes | French Language with English subtitles | Catalogue Number: OPTD2023
| RRP: £17.99 | Blu-ray Catalogue Number: OPTBD2023 | Blu-ray RRP: £22.99. Blu-ray
Extras: Making Of The Princess Of Montpensier.
"The Princess Of Montpensier is a sharp and compulsive, beautifully-filmed
period romance" Maggie Woods, MotorBar
"An intelligent historical epic with a vigorous modern sweep ****"
"Handsomely mounted and rousingly acted out" Evening Standard
"Attractive costumes and scenery added to a stirring story of romance and rivalry"