The Princess of Montpensier (2011)

The Princess of Montpensier Plot

France, 1562. Against a background of the savage Catholic/Protestant wars, Marie de Mézières (Mélanie Thierry), a beautiful young aristocrat, and the rakish Henri de Guise (Gaspard Ulliel) fall in love, but Marie's father has promised her hand in marriage to the Prince of Montpensier (Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet). When he is called away to battle, her husband leaves her in the care of Count Chabannes (Lambert Wilson), an aging nobleman with a disdain for warfare. As he experiences his own forbidden desire for Marie, Chabannes must also protect her from the dangerously corrupt court dominated by Catherine de Medici. Tavernier translates Madame de Lafayette’s 1622 novella into a bracingly intelligent and moving evocation of the terrible conflict between duty and passion. Though the themes are classic, Tavernier, with the cinematographer Bruno de Keyzer’s vivid landscapes and Philippe Sarde’s pulsing score, makes them feel passionately, urgently contemporary.

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