Farewell to the Queen (movie)

Farewell to the Queen is a French film written and directed by Benoît Jacquot , released in 2012 .

The film, presented at the opening of the Berlinale 2012 1 , is an adaptation of the eponymous novel by Chantal Thomas . It focuses on the chronicle of court life at the Palace of Versailles between the 14th andat the moment when, after the taking of the Bastille , the inhabitants, noblemen as servants, flee this “golden prison”.

Released in France 1 , the film receives the Louis-Delluc Award for Best Film of the Year 2012, as well as three César in 2013 , those of the best sets ,costumes and the best photography .


At the court of Versailles , shortly before the French Revolution , the young Sidonie Laborde, an orphan of father and mother, has just been hired as Queen Marie Antoinette’s reader . She is lodged with the other servants in the halls of the castle, where rumors about the powerful are going well. By her wise choice of readings, sometimes controversial, which appeal to the sovereign, Sidonie weaves little by little with the latter a link that she thinks is friendship. She even begins to believe that she will dethrone Madame de Polignac , the Queen’s best friend, in the heart of Marie Antoinette.

It is without counting with the spirit of caste and the sovereign selfishness of his idol. When the news of the storming of the Bastille sways the monarchy and puts the court personnel to flight, Sidonie remains faithful to her position. On July 15, the queen, who wishes to take refuge in the stronghold of Metz , asks Sidonie to prepare maps of the course from books in the library, and has her luggage prepared for this purpose, but peaceful and indecisive by nature, King Louis XVI can not bring himself to flee and decides to stay at Versailles.

Without a state of mind, Queen Marie-Antoinette manipulates her reader’s troubled feelings to save her dear Madame de Polignac. She uses Sidonie as a decoy by making him put on a splendid dress of the Duchess, in order to favor the flight of this one in Switzerland and to put it safe from the popular vindicte. Thus, while she crosses the border in the same carriage as the Duke and the Duchess of Polignac disguised as servants, Sidonie, in duchess’s clothes, takes all the risks and plays with brio her favorite dream: to be the best friend of the Queen.

Technical sheet

  • Original title: Farewell to the Queen
  • Director: Benoît Jacquot
  • Script: Benoît Jacquot and Gilles Taurand , based on the eponymous novel by Chantal Thomas ( Prix Femina in 2002 )
  • Original music: Bruno Coulais
  • Photography: Romain Winding
  • Sound: Brigitte Taillandier
  • Costumes: Christian Gasc and Valérie Ranchoux
  • Editing: Luc Barnier
  • Sets: Katia Wyszkop
  • Production: Jean-Pierre Guérin
    • Post-production: Frédéric J. Lozet
    • Executive production: Christophe Valette
    • Associate production company: Jean-Pierre Guérin , Kristina Larsen and Pedro Uriol
  • Production Company: GMT Productions
  • Distribution: Ad Vitam
  • Budget:  7,820,000 2
  • Genre: historical film
  • Release dates:
    •  Germany :( Berlinale )
    •  United States :(Festival Rendez-Vous with French Cinema in New York )
    •  France :
    •  Belgium :


Léa Seydoux , Diane Kruger and Virginie Ledoyen during the presentation of the film at the Berlinale 2012 .
  • Léa Seydoux : Sidonie Laborde
  • Diane Krüger : Marie Antoinette
  • Virginie Ledoyen : Gabrielle de Polignac
  • Xavier Beauvois : Louis XVI
  • Noémie Lvovsky : Madame Campan
  • Michel Robin : Jacob-Nicolas Moreau , Librarian of the Queen
  • Julie-Marie Parmentier : Honorine
  • Lolita Chammah : Louison
  • Marthe Caufman : Alice
  • Vladimir Consigny : Paolo
  • Jacques Boudet : Monsieur de la Tour du Pin
  • Martine Chevallier : Madame de la Tour du Pin
  • Grégory Gadebois : Count of Provence
  • Francis Leplay : Comte d’Artois
  • Jacques Nolot : Monsieur de Jolivet
  • Serge Renko : Marquis de la Chesnaye
  • Dominique Reymond : Madam
  • Jean-Chrétien Sibertin-Blanc : Monsieur de Polignac
  • Jacques Herlin : Marquis de Vaucouleurs
  • Anne Benoit : Rose Bertin
  • Cillian Murphy : Narrator
  • Hervé Pierre : Father Hérissé
  • Aladin Reibel : The abbot Cornu de la Balivière
  • Jean-Marc Stehlé : Marshal Broglie
  • Gilles David : Vicar Moullet
  • Pierre Rochefort : The valet Antonin
  • Rodolphe Congé : The officer of the National Guard
  • Philippe Pasquini : Revolutionary peasant
  • Eric Moreau : A revolutionary (uncredited)
  • Luc Palun : (uncredited)
  • Yves Penay : Monsieur de Barentin
  • Sonia Joubert : Augustine
  • Thibault Sauvaige : Gustav
  • Pierre Berriau : The first bailiff
  • Pascal Vannson : The second usher
  • Maurice Delaistier : The violinist secretary
  • Emmanuelle Bougerol : A cooking girl
  • Véronique Nordey : Madame Tournon
  • Jean-Pierre Guérin : Mr. Janvier
  • Françoise Bertin : the Marquise Eve

Project and film production

Before adapting to it, Benoît Jacquot said that at first he was interested in Chantal Thomas’ work for “concentration in a certain place and time” 3 .

For the choice of actresses, Benoît Jacquot has decided to rejuvenate the character of Sidonie Laborde, who is 44 years old in the work of Chantal Thomas, to give the role to “an actress expressing great sensuality” 3 , thus attributing to Léa Seydoux . He sought the interpreter Marie Antoinette after the Sidonie, with the desire to choose a foreign actress 3 . Eva Green was first considered but her participation in a film by Tim Burton has made her agenda incompatible with the filming of Farewell to Queen 3 . Diane Krüger then made the process herself, insisting on her great interest in the role 3. As for Virginie Ledoyen , the director finds it after helping to reveal it in La Fille seul in 1995 3 . For Jacquot, “These are the actresses who legitimize the world of film, and who legitimize the film” 3 .

By obtaining permission to set up his film crews in Versailles (Monday, closing day of the castle, and nights), Benoît Jacquot wants to make the scene “a character in its own right” 3 . To make this historical film, the director wanted to avoid what he calls an “antique film” in order to “establish a link with the present” while avoiding anachronisms 3 . However, we can notice that the vocabulary used, the diction of young actresses are very contemporary. He also asked his director of photography to favor natural light 3. The extensive use of the camera technique reflects Jacquot’s desire to create “a sense of immediacy, as if following a news cameraman during a violent event” 3 .

Critical reception

The historian and specialist Marie Antoinette Evelyn Lever criticized the suspicion of homosexuality surrounding the friendships of the queen, presented in what remains a work of fiction, while recognizing the “beautifully written” character of the book that allowed the writing of the film. She says well, besides the fact that the character of Sidonie Laborde probably never existed (no reading to Marie Antoinette): “Do not make this strong friendship [with mede Polignac], and that was not without clouds, a homosexual liaison. The queen has been accused of all sexual turpitude. The pornographic attack has always been a political means of destabilizing personalities. “I get the taste of women and lovers,” she tells her mother . It is the enemies of Marie Antoinette who spoke of her saphism . Marie Antoinette, who did not like the king of love, had female friendships and perhaps a lover, Fersen ” 4 .



  • 2012 : Louis-Delluc Award for Best Film 5
  • 2013 Césars :
    • Best scenery ( Katia Wyszkop )
    • Best costumes ( Christian Gasc )
    • Best Photography ( Romain Winding )


  • 2013 Césars :
    • César nomination for best film
    • César nomination for best director ( Benoît Jacquot )
    • César nomination for the best actress ( Léa Seydoux )
    • Caesar nomination for best adaptation ( Benoît Jacquot and Gilles Taurand )
    • Caesar Nomination for Best Music ( Bruno Coulais )
    • César nomination for best editing ( Luc Barnier )
    • César nomination for the best sound ( Brigitte Taillandier , Francis Wargnier and Olivier Goinard )

Around the film

The Farewell to the Queen is largely shot at the Palace of Versailles and Petit Trianon in the department of Yvelines , the Parc de Sceaux in the Hauts-de-Seine . The large gallery and the queen’s bedroom (located actually filmed at the Petit Trianon are the castles of Chantilly and Maisons-Laffite 6 .

The film is dedicated to Jacques Tronel ( producer and assistant director ), who died in Paris onsource: generic ) 7 , 8 .

Notes and references

  1. ↑ a and b Thomas Sotinel , ” The film Farewell, My Queen opens the 62 th Berlinale ,” The World , ( read online  [ archive ] )
  2. ↑ Exclusive: the tops and flops of French cinema in 2012 [ archive ] on BFM TV .com, published onSimon Tenenbaum and Jamal Henni.
  3. ↑ a , b , c , d , e , f , g , h , i , j and k « Interview of Benoît Jacquot for the movie Farewell to the Queen »  [ archive ] , on abusedecine.com , (accessed March 23, 2012 )
  4. ↑ Interview of Évelyne Lever collected by Emmanuèle Frois, “Marie Antoinette was not homosexual”, in Le Figaro , Wednesday, March 21, 2012, page 31.
  5. ↑ Farewell, My Queen awarded the Louis Delluc prize [ archive ] in Le Figaro on 14 December 2012.
  6. ↑ ” Farewell My Queen ” France Inter , ( read online  [ archive ] )
  7. ↑ ” Disappearance of Jacques Tronel “, The French Film , ( read online  [ archive ] )
  8. ↑ ” Jacques Tronel ”  [ archive ] , on IMDb (accessed April 3, 2017 )

Leave a comment