Lea Seydoux in 'Farewell My Queen'
Lea Seydoux in 'Farewell My Queen'

And he shot fast; his cameramen rushed through dark corridors following the characters with digital Steadicams, over-the-shoulder documentary-style.

Like Stanley Kubrick's "Barry Lyndon," Jacquot was seeking a natural light aesthetic, which was easier to achieve with today's digital cameras than it was on film in 1975. "I think Kubrick asked questions similar to ones I've asked myself," he says. "The question of directing theatrical cinema is a question of real cinematography. How did women and men live in a time when the main lighting was candles, when you can't see further ahead than five meters? I bet you the budget on 'Barry Lyndon' in candles was one week of shooting on my film." 

This was his first move to digital. "Now I will always do digital films," he says. "There's really no point in 35 mm. Every theater in France is digital. All the print labs have closed down as well. It's the technique now. And technically we can do things you could not do with 35. Two years ago, this film would not have been possible. Things are changing quickly."