Culture

“Marie-Antoinette”, an Austrian at Versailles



A young girl seeks the exit from a labyrinth, surrounded by threatening shadows. The generic of Marie Antoinette this metaphor sums up the situation of the Dauphine on her arrival in France. Between the weight of the protocol and the hostility of her in-laws, the 14-year-old girl finds herself trapped in a game of which she does not know the rules. A pawn on the geopolitical chessboard, she does not even manage to fulfill the mission entrusted to her by her mother: to give an heir to the Bourbons and seal the Franco-Austrian alliance.

In this first season (out of three planned), we discover how the frightened teenager gradually takes her destiny into her own hands. Series creator Deborah Davis, a trained historian and screenwriter of The Favourite, of Yórgos Lánthimos, wished “to rehabilitate Marie-Antoinette”. “Charismatic and sparkling”this “strong head” will quickly oppose uses that it deems absurd, even if it means alienating the Court.

Louis XV as a libidinous old man

To spice up her story of emancipation, Deborah Davis takes liberties with reality and forces the line of certain characters (Louis XV as a libidinous old man, the Count of Provence as a malevolent pug…). “It’s the entertainment that comes first. The scriptwriters mixed the real elements in the shaker, jostled the chronology… Historians will go wild ”predicts Mathieu da Vinha, scientific director of the Research Center of the Palace of Versailles and advisor on the series.

If he deplores certain implausibilities (like Madame du Barry initiating Marie-Antoinette in things of love), he invites the spectators to let themselves be lulled by the fiction, the atmosphere. It is indeed difficult not to be charmed by the mischievous lightness of the young German actress Emilia Schüle and the touching awkwardness of Louis Cunningham in the role of the future king, paralyzed by his office. Their mutual taming gives rise to scenes of great tenderness, which are very successful.



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