In anticipation of the 20th anniversary of its release, Pathé has restored La Reine Margot, a great historical epic of blood and gold which recounts Marguerite de Valois's marriage to the king, Henri de Navarre. Intended to reconcile catholics and protestants, six days later, it led to the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre on 25th August 1572.
La Reine Margot in its third incarnation. Despite being well received, despite receiving two awards at the 1994 Festival de Cannes (Jury Award and Best Actress Award for Virna Lisi), Miramax sohrtened the film by around twenty minutes for its international release.
The version being presented today at Cannes Classics is a restored and enriched version. Using the initial edit, the French filmmaker wanted to make a few editing changes - changes which do not affect the film's total length (2h39).
Patrice Chéreau © Mano / La Reine Margot © RR
The restoration was entrusted to Eclair Group for the image and L.E Diapason for the sound. It was done in 4K resolution using the original 35 mm negative. The mixing has undergone a sensitive evolution throughout its versions, with Goran Bregovic's music being given a greater presence.
La Reine Margot spurred debate after its release regarding its "historical accuracy". The film was also reproached for its anachronistic costumes which greatly contribute to the film's beauty. It was a conscious choice on the part of Patrice Chéreau and Moidele Bickel, who took inspiration from paintings by Zurbaran, Rembrandt and Georges de la Tour, without worrying about the exact era. This choice was rewarded with an Oscar nomination for best costume design in 1995.
The restored version will be released in cinemas and on DVD in January 2014, allowing young cinema goers to discover Isabelle Adjani in one of her most striking roles.
Béatrice de Mondenard
Sunday 19th May / Buñuel Theatre / 7.30 p.m.