The Princess of Montpensier

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The Princess of Montpensier
Theatrical release poster
La Princesse de Montpensier
Directed by Bertrand Tavernier
Produced by Marc Silam
Eric Heuman
Screenplay by Jean Cosmos
François-Olivier Rousseau
Bertrand Tavernier
Story by Madame de La Fayette
Starring Mélanie Thierry
Gaspard Ulliel
Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet
Lambert Wilson
Raphaël Personnaz
Music by Philippe Sarde
Cinematography Bruno de Keyzer
Edited by Sophie Brunet
Paradis Films
Distributed by StudioCanal
Release date
  • 16 May 2010 (2010-05-16) (Cannes)
  • 3 November 2010 (2010-11-03) (France)
Running time
139 minutes
Country France
Language French
Budget €12.9 million[1]
Box office $6.8 million[1]

The Princess of Montpensier (French: La Princesse de Montpensier) is a 2010 French period romance film directed by Bertrand Tavernier, inspired by a novella of the same name published anonymously by Madame de La Fayette in 1662. It stars Mélanie Thierry in the title role, alongside Gaspard Ulliel, Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet, Lambert Wilson and Raphaël Personnaz. The story takes place in the French aristocracy during the Wars of Religion, and focuses on a young woman who is forced into marriage while passionately in love with another man.[2] The film competed at the 63rd Cannes Film Festival and was released in French cinemas on 3 November 2010.


Only a few of the characters are real historical figures.


Unusual for a Bertrand Tavernier project, the director was not attached from the very start. When he became involved, there was already a first version of a screenplay written by François-Olivier Rousseau. With his usual co-writer Jean Cosmos, Tavernier went back to the original source in order to adapt the script to his own vision.[3] The screenplay was not an entirely faithful adaptation of the original short story, published anonymously in 1662. "Mme de La Fayette, who was from the 17th century, wrote about the 16th. Knowing that the 17th century had become very puritanical, while the 16th was not, we removed some filters, but never bent the feelings portrayed", Tavernier explained in Le Figaro.[2]

The film was produced by Paradis Films. It received co-production support from StudioCanal, the television channels France 2 and France 3 and the German company Pandora. Additional funding was provided by the National Center of Cinematography and the Deutsch-Französische Förderkommission. The budget was 13.35 million euro.[4][5]

Costumes were made in Italy and England.[6] An inspiration for the costume design was the 1994 film La Reine Margot, which is set during the same period. What Tavernier liked about the film was how casual the costumes were, and not at all based on the ceremonial clothing seen in paintings from 16th century.[3] Horses were brought to the set from Paris.[6] Lambert Wilson and Raphaël Personnaz were the only actors with previous riding experience, and all main actors prepared for their roles by taking riding lessons.[3]

Filming started 28 September 2009 and lasted nine weeks, in the city Angers and the regions Centre and Cantal.[7] Filming locations included the Château de Blois and the Château de Messilhac (fr), with more than 100 people working permanently on the sets.[2][6] For the riding scenes, a steadicam was placed on a motorcycle or a small car in order to provide freedom of movement for the riders. Tavernier drew inspiration from old Western films, where important conversations often take place on horseback.[3] The lighting was inspired by film noir, as the director primarily aimed to create an atmosphere of emotional tension, "not imitate paintings or pictorial reconstruction".[8] The film was shot in Panavision and contains no artificial special effects or computer-generated imagery.[3]


The film premiered on 16 May as part of the main competition of the 2010 Cannes Film Festival.[9] StudioCanal released it in 384 French cinemas on 3 November the same year.[10] Distribution rights for the United States were bought in Cannes by IFC Films, which releases it on 1 April 2011.[11][12] The release in the United Kingdom occurred on 8 July 2011.[13] The film was released in the United States on 14 April 2011.[13]


On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 84% based on 63 reviews and an average rating of 7/10.[14] At Metacritic, the film has a score of 78 out of 100 based on 20 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[15]

François-Guillaume Lorrain reviewed the film for Le Point and was impressed by the adaptation: "Tavernier knows how to give breath, get rid of dust, be modern, without ever sullying the original". Lorrain complimented the performances of Wilson, Vuillermoz, Personnaz and Leprince-Ringuet, and wrote that the film "reconciles the taste of unbound feelings and sharp blades".[16] Léo Soesanto of Les Inrockuptibles was less enthusiastic and described the film as "the wars of religion in a teen movie". He did think it had a certain sense of fresh air and lucidity, but that "the flamboyant feelings and the battles are freeze-dried", which only left an impression of emptiness.[17] It received the top rating of three stars in Le Parisien, where Marie Sauvion wrote: "The beauty of the images, of the costumes, the delight of a dusted off romance, of an inspiring troupe of actors, of amazing supporting roles ... , all of this contributes to make The Princess of Montpensier an ambitious and poignant film."[18]

In the U.S., the film has received largely favorable reviews, including one from Roger Ebert.[19]


Award / Film Festival Category Recipients and nominees Result
Cannes Film Festival Palme d'Or Nominated
Cabourg Film Festival Male Revelation Raphaël Personnaz Won
César Awards Most Promising Actor Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet Nominated
Raphaël Personnaz Nominated
Best Adaptation Jean Cosmos, Francois-Olivier Rousseau and Bertrand Tavernier Nominated
Best Cinematography Bruno de Keyzer Nominated
Best Original Music Philippe Sarde Nominated
Best Costume Design Caroline de Vivaise Won
Best Production Design Guy-Claude Francois Nominated
Lumières Awards Best Actor Lambert Wilson Nominated

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "La Princesse de Montpensier". JP's Box-Office. 
  2. ^ a b c Frois, Emmanuèle (1 December 2009). "Tavernier au bras de "La Princesse de Montpensier"". Le Figaro (in French). Retrieved 17 April 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Baurez, Thomas (16 May 2010). "Bertrand Tavernier raconte le tournage de La Princesse de Montpensier". L'Express (in French). Retrieved 16 May 2010. 
  4. ^ Lemercier, Fabien (16 April 2010). "Tavernier, Beauvois and Amalric in race". Cineuropa. Retrieved 16 May 2010. 
  5. ^ "Deutsch-Französische Förderkommission vergibt insgesamt 1,24 Mio. Euro". (in German). Deutsches Filminstitut. 30 March 2010. Retrieved 17 April 2010. 
  6. ^ a b c Dijols, Nathalie (25 October 2009). "Tavernier et Lambert Wilson en tournage à Messilhac". La Dépêche du Midi (in French). Retrieved 18 April 2010. 
  7. ^ Lemercier, Fabien (4 September 2009). "Tavernier and La Princesse de Montpensier". Cineuropa. Retrieved 17 April 2010. 
  8. ^ Lemercier, Fabien (16 May 2010). "Interview with Bertrand Tavernier". Cineuropa. Retrieved 9 November 2010. 
  9. ^ "The screenings guide" (PDF). Cannes Film Festival. Retrieved 21 May 2010. 
  10. ^ Lemercier, Fabien (3 November 2010). "Buried gets 228-print run, innovative promotional campaign". Cineuropa. Retrieved 4 November 2010. 
  11. ^ Cox, Gordon (21 May 2010). "IFC picks up 'Princess'". Variety. Retrieved 21 May 2010. 
  12. ^ "The Princess of Montpensier". Retrieved 23 October 2010. 
  13. ^ a b "The Princess of Montpensier (2010) : Release Info". Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
  14. ^ "La princesse de Montpensier (The Princess of Montpensier) (2011)". Rotten Tomatoes. 
  15. ^ "The Princess of Montpensier". Metacritic. 
  16. ^ Lorrain, François-Guillaume (29 October 2010). "'La princesse de Montpensier', fiévreux duels et duos enflammés". Le Point (in French). Retrieved 3 November 2010. Tavernier sait donner du souffle, dépoussiérer, être moderne, sans jamais galvauder l'original"; "réconcilie le goût des sentiments déliés et des lames effilées. 
  17. ^ Soesanto, Léo (2 November 2010). "La Princesse de Montpensier". Les Inrockuptibles (in French). Retrieved 3 November 2010. les guerres de religions dans un teen movie"; "les sentiments flamboyants et les batailles sont lyophilisés 
  18. ^ Sauvion, Marie (3 November 2010). "" La Princesse de Montpensier " : passionné". Le Parisien (in French). Retrieved 3 November 2010. La beauté des images, des costumes, le plaisir d’un romanesque dépoussiéré, d’une troupe d’acteurs inspirée, de seconds rôles épatants ... , tout cela concourt à faire de « la Princesse de Montpensier » un film ambitieux et poignant. 
  19. ^ "The Princess of Montpensier". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 28 February 2015. 

External links[edit]