25 juillet 2024

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“Firebrand – the queen’s game”, beautiful classic film about Henry VIII’s sixth wife at the Cannes Film Festival

FIREBRAND de Karim Aïnouz: Jude Law et Alicia Vikander

"Firebrand - the game of the queen" is directed by the Brazilian Karim Aïnouz who gives it a beautiful historical touch.

The queen (Alicia Vikander) entered the Cannes Film Festival, playing the Queen of England Catherine Parr, in the film “Firebrand” by Karim Aïnouz.

“Firebrand – the game of the queen” is directed by the Brazilian Karim Aïnouz who gives it a beautiful historical touch.

A historic film on Catherine Parr, sixth wife of King Henry VIII, Firebrand – the queen’s game allows Brazilian director Karim Aïnouz for the first time to be in competition at Cannes, after having passed through the boxes, “Un certain regard ” and the “Directors’ Fortnight”. If his film does not really meet the criteria because of its classic bill, Jude Law’s performance, unrecognizable as Henry VIII, is remarkable.

An infinite reel should exist in order to group them all into a gigantic mortuary fresco. However, when you want to go to the other side of the bed, Catherine Parr is not represented as much as that as the main protagonist. Strong and modern woman, the only one of all the king’s wives to have led him by the nose and challenged him to his own death. It is with great satisfaction that we discover this film among the Cannes selection.

Of course, the choice of actress to embody this powerful woman of letters was very basic, and what a wonderful choice that of Alicia Vikander. The charisma of the actress is endowed with the same aplomb as that which one could lend to the queen consort. Here again, the Danish Girl actress proves her ease in period roles. But although the filmmaker has focused on Queen Parr, it is indeed Jude Law who bursts the screen, in this role of putrid king of gangrene, where abuse and indifference for his women make him a to be infamous and repulsive.

Karim Aïnouz realizes a realistic and sober reconstruction of the British sixteenth century, tinged with mist and metaphorical darkness. They suggest a confused time, dominated by a devastating plague in the kingdom, war with France and Spain, and a distrustful and unpredictable ruler. His conflict with the pope will lead to the establishment of Anglicanism in England, a new religion.

Sublime are the costumes and the misty lands, a very important point that we can grant with great ease to the Brazilian director and which allows to give a harder, almost horrifying tone to the work.

Sixth wife of Henry VIII, Catherine Parr sees the early return of her husband who was wounded in action in France. Whimsical and brutal, he had two of his previous wives beheaded, two others having been banished, and a final one having died of illness. Effective regent during the king’s absence, Catherine has his favors, but the sovereign’s wound worsens, which pushes him to be more suspicious of his wife. Influenced by Bishop Gardiner, the king turns against his queen. Catherine then tries to thwart the traps set by the court, the Church and the king with her ladies-in-waiting.

Presented in official competition, the feature film by Karim Aïnouz goes off the beaten track by offering a very gloomy reconstruction of the 16th century, in the midst of the Black Death, war and uprising against the king.

Firebrand – the queen’s game is all the more convincing, but received a mixed reception from festival-goers.
For the director, this is the first film in English, he did not know the story of King Henry VIII, the chance to work with producer Gabrielle Tana, gave him confidence that the film can be made even if it was a period when the covid interrupted filming. This is how the Brazilian filmmaker Karim Aïnouz began, the first step towards making a contemporary film in English, without knowing the story, 2 years of covid, but trusting the English producer Gabrielle Tana.

Copyright ©2023 IMPACT EUROPEAN

Copyright ©2023 IMPACT EUROPEAN

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