La Reine Margot (1994)

Patrice Chéreau directs Isabelle Adjani, Daniel Auteuil and Virna Lisi in this gory period adaptation of Alexandre Dumas where various historical figures attempt to survive massacres and assassination attempts after a Catholic princess is forced to marry an embattled Protestant king.

Best to just let the first hour of La Reine Margot wash over you rather than register everyone intently. We are introduced to scores of real life figures. They insult, fight, flirt and grope each other. You’ve never witnessed shots quite so packed with principal players. Every early scene is a squirming incestuous crush. Then they start murdering each other. Then fucking each other. Then more murders and intrigue forge a few heartfelt relationships and tender feelings. Once you get used to the packed nature of the characterisation and plotting, this is quite the blast. Full of sexy bodies (the alive ones) especially when they aren’t covered in muck and crimson. The ladies stand out. Adjani is ethereal. Virna Lisi perfectly corrupt and joyless as puppet master Catherine De Medici. Dominique Blanc and Asia Argento appeal as sexed up ladies in waiting. A kinky, brutal, epic French history lesson.


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