Friday, April 13, 2012


The 55th annual San Francisco International Film Festival will kickoff next Thursday, April 19th, with this film. If you can't make it there, or don't have the money to shell out for what I can attest is a great film and sure to be a kick-ass party, it also opens in the Bay Area on July 13th, just in time for Bastille Day!

Oh yeah, that works better if you know it's a film about the French Revolution, in particular the last days before the fall of Versailles, told from inside Versailles through the eyes of the Queen's reader Sidonie Laborde (a fictional character invented for the novel by Chantal Thomas, on which the film is based.) Anything more than a capsule review must wait until the theatrical release, so I'll just point you to the festival page and say they've pretty much hit on everything I would say about the film.

Instead I'll philosophize a little bit about the role of a festival's opening night film. It's an odd role, since it ends up being the talk of that night and of course its on everyone's lips at the party. But since it has no further festival showings, the next day talk quickly turns to other films, in particular what films you'll choose to see next, what are the "can't miss" screenings, etc. So rather than being the film everyone talks about, it has to be the film that gets everyone excited to see a ton of movies over the next two weeks. A great opening night film celebrates and showcases (at least in some way) to powers and possibilities of the medium of the moving picture. And on that front, I think the festival will be off to a great start. It's a period costume drama, if you like that sort of thing. And if you don't, there's still enough palace intrigue, excitement, and hints of lesbianism (oh, yeah!) to keep just about anyone interested.

Running Time: 99 minutes
My Total Minutes: 277,083

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