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San Francisco Fest Opener: Lush French Period Drama 'Farewell, My Queen,' Starring Kruger and Seydoux

Thompson on Hollywood By Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood March 20, 2012 at 12:36PM

The San Francisco International Film Festival will open with "Farewell, My Queen" on April 19 at the Castro Theatre. The historical drama, from director Benoît Jacquot, stars Diane Kruger ("Inglourious Basterds," "National Treasure") as Queen Marie Antoinette and Léa Seydoux...
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Lea Seydoux in "Farewell My Queen"
Lea Seydoux in "Farewell My Queen"

The San Francisco International Film Festival will open with "Farewell, My Queen" on April 19 at the Castro Theatre. The historical drama, from director Benoît Jacquot ("Right Now," "A Single Girl"), stars Diane Kruger ("Inglourious Basterds," "National Treasure") as Queen Marie Antoinette and Léa Seydoux ("Midnight in Paris," "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol") as her reader during the early days of the French Revolution at Versailles. The period drama earned strong reviews after it opened the Berlin Fest, where TOH! critic Matt Mueller wrote:

Benoit Jacquot’s smart, elegantly mounted costume drama about the court of Versailles as it’s about to be swept away by the French Revolution. Shot partly in the actual palace, and making grand use of dark, dank, candlelit corridors and stairwells filled with increasingly panicky nobles and household staff, “Farewell My Queen” has an intriguing protagonist in Lea Seydoux, who plays a lowly reader to Diane Kruger’s Sapphic-tinted Marie Antoinette, finding her swoony loyalty to the mercurial queen severely tested. It’s stalwart costume drama fare, with an old-school approach, but intelligent crafting and provocative plotting keep it engaging. It already has a US distributor in Cohen Media and they may well benefit from Seydoux’s growing profile (propelled along by the icy assassin she played in “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol”), as well as the inherent appeal of its subject matter to an upscale audience and the current vogue for upstairs-downstairs storylines.

Jacquot will participate in a Q & A after the screening; the Opening Night Party will follow at the contemporary art gallery Terra. More information on the festival and tickets here.

This article is related to: Festivals, Festivals, San Francisco International Film Festival, Genres, Foreign, Headliners


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.