Monday, November 8, 2010

Movie Monday: Marie Antoinette

Marie Antoinette, 2006. Starring Kirsten Dunst, Jason Schwartzman, Rip Torn, Judy Davis. (Director: Sofia Coppola)

Plot: A stylized portrait of Marie Antoinette (Dunst), the naive Austrian princess who married Louis XVI (Schwartzman) to become queen of France at age 19. The film explores the effects of a luxurious yet terribly confining lifestyle on the young queen. Her resulting youthful indiscretion and frivolity ultimately led to her undoing.

Trivia & Scenese

In one scene while Marie Antoinette is getting ready, a pair of blue Converse tennis shoes are visible in the scene. Sofia Coppola has stated in interviews that the shoes were purposely put in the shot to portray Marie-Antoinette as a typical teenage girl, despite the time she lived in.

The part of Louis XV was first offered to Alain Delon. Allegedly, he met Ms. Coppola for dinner and brought the American director a huge bouquet of flowers and explained he did not think this was the type of role his fans would appreciate him in. Privately it has been speculated the French icon did not have confidence in the young American director to do justice to a film on this period of French history.

The French government granted special permission for the crew to film in the Palace of Versailles.

 Even though the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles was in restoration - until spring 2007 - Sofia Coppola was allowed to film there a ball scene for the wedding of Marie-Antoinette and Louis XVI.

This movie was going to be produced before Lost in Translation (2003), but while Sofia Coppola was writing the screenplay struggling with historical truth and an imposing gallery of characters, she started creating another story in order to distract herself from the difficult enterprise. This parallel project - a small Japanese story - became "Lost in Translation", whose planetary success revamped the Marie-Antoinette production.

Sofia Coppola refused to read the famous biography of Marie-Antoinette written by Stefan Zweig, which she judged too strict. She turned instead to the book by Antonia Fraser, which makes the queen a more human character, a young girl with no connection to reality who finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Sofia Coppola had Spanish footwear designer Manolo Blahnik create hundreds of specially made shoes for the film.

Ladurée was chosen by Sofia Coppola to make all of the brightly colored pastries and cakes for the film.

A few quotes from the film are directly taken from Marie Antoinette's actual life and from the biography by Antonia Fraser that the film is loosely based upon. Louis XV's comment about Marie Antoinette's bosom upon her arrival in France, Marie Antoinette's comment on having enough diamonds when presented with the opportunity of receiving some as a gift from Madame du Barry, Marie's comment to Madame du Barry about there being a lot of people at Versailles on the day of their infamous first exchange of words, and Marie's comment to her husband, Louis XVI, during a gambling party, explaining that Louis told her she could throw the party but never specified for how long are all actual exchanges of words and conversations from different events in the queen's life.

In the film, only three children are shown when in reality Marie Antoinette had four children. Her first daughter is portrayed, as well as her first son. However, her first son had died by the time of the march on Versailles by the rioting crowds, when in the film he is shown being escorted to the carriage with his mother. The only other child shown in the film is the one painted out of a portrait of the royal family, who would have been Marie Antoinette's second daughter but in chronology would have been her second son, the one who in reality was alive by the time of the march on Versailles.

One ancient harp built in Paris in 1783 was borrowed from the Italian "Museo dell'Arpa Victor Salvi", in order to have a realistic environment

Was ranked #3 on US Weekly's "Top Ten Films of 2006".

As is shown in the movie, Marie Antoinette was not allowed to keep her pug, Mops, when she entered France. However, later on Count Mercy arranged for the pug to be sent to her after her marriage.

According to some history accounts, when Marie Antoinette met the rioters on the balcony of the palace, she had her eldest daughter with her. This was supposedly in order to augment a sense of sympathy for the doomed queen.

The blue and gold robe a la Francaise Shirley Henderson wears as Aunt Sophie was previously worn by Geraldine Somerville as Lady Emily (during the scene of Lord Kildare having dinner at Richmond House). The same gown also appeared previously in "Doctor Who" (2005) on Sophia Myles in the final ballroom scene of "The Girl in the Fireplace".

The birdcage hat Rose Byrne (Duchesse de Polignac) wears is the same one Joely Richardson (Marie-Antoinette) wears in The Affair of the Necklace (2001).

The red satin bejeweled gauntlets Kirsten Dunst wears are the same ones Hilary Swank (Jeanne St. Remy de Valois) wears in The Affair of the Necklace (2001).

The red gown with three jeweled buttons Asia Argento (Comtesse du Barry) wears is the same costume Hilary Swank (Jeanne St. Remy de Valois) wears in The Affair of the Necklace (2001).