The Princess of Montpensier (movie)

The Princess of Montpensier is a Franco – German film directed by Bertrand Tavernier , inspired by the new eponymous of Madame de La Fayette .

This historical film , taking place under the Renaissance , was released in France, the. He was presented in competition at the official selection of the 2010 Cannes Film Festival , without obtaining a prize. He was then selected in several categories at the 36 th César Ceremony in 2011 and was awarded the Caesar of Best Costumes .

This fourth and last collaboration between Bertrand Tavernier and his friend Jean Cosmos , at the scenario level, almost failed to come true, due to a lack of funding, a situation due to the economic context of the time . This production owes its existence to the intervention of the Ministry of Culture , following the personal will of the Minister, Frédéric Mitterrand 1 .

This film has benefited from the provision of production and the crew of several historical sites, classified for their indoor and outdoor settings, especially in the region Center-Val de Loire with its many castles of the Renaissance . A large number of scenes from the film were also shot in Messilhac Castle , located in Raulhac , Cantal , in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region .


Madame de La Fayette.


The film presents the love story fictionalized between the duke and lle de Meziere , forced to marry the Prince of Montpensier 2 .

Inspired by the long story written by Madame de Lafayette, the action takes place at the end of the Renaissance , when if Catherine de Medici no longer exerts the regency in the name of his son King Charles IX , it still holds a great part of the power. Throughout this “reign”, Catherine and her royal children will be confronted with the pangs of the wars of religion and the massacre of St. Bartholomew , which occurred on the night of will be the major political event of this short period of French history.

The action of the film takes place within the framework of the life and customs of a small clan of aristocrats placed at the top of the monarchical state, within the great families of France: the House of Guise , junior branch of the House of Lorraine , and close to the sovereigns of Scotland , the house of Bourbon-Montpensier , near the Dolphins of Auvergne and finally, the House of the Valois who reigned then on France and whose Henri de Valois, future sovereign of France under the name of Henry III , will be the last representative.

Most of the scenes of the film is located at Note 1 , in the castle of the Marquis de Mézières, then in the castle of Philippe de Montpensier. Several scenes, including the interview with Catherine de Medici and the ball, take place at the court of King Charles IX, at the Louvre Palace , then at the Hotel des Montpensier Note 2 and one of the last scenes of the film (the farewell to Henri de Guise) takes place at the castle of Blois Note 3 .


The film opens on the sight of a verdant countryside and reveals a scene of war peculiar to the sixteenth century. century. Riders appear on a battlefield where we discover bodies strewn on the ground. It is the count of Chabannes and his men who pursue fugitives. The count then enters an isolated house. Carried away by his murderous madness, he pierces a pregnant woman with his sword, then leaves the house to clean his weapon stained with blood. Following a long ride in the countryside, he tells his mate, Nicolas, that he gives up the fight. Moments later, bells ring the truce and the end of the fighting. Chabannes then learns that he is banned by both sides (royalists and reformed) who consider him a traitor to their causes. From then on, he gives leave to Nicolas and leaves alone through the countryside. He finds himself near a tree and, exhausted, ends up falling asleep at his feet. Awakened brutally by individuals, presumably brigands, who, taking him for a reformed, want to rob and hang him, he owes his life to the sudden intervention ofPhilippe de Montpensier , prince of blood , who was formerly his pupil in arms. Count de Chabannes confesses that he is ruined, proscribed and deserter, but Philip asks to accompany him on his way to join his father who made the decision to marry him.

François (Philippe in the film) of Monpensier.

At the castle of Mézières, the duke of Montpensier after a long and bitter discussion manages to convince his friend, the Marquis de Mézières, to marry his daughter, Marie, to his son Philippe instead of a younger family member of Lorraine better known as ” House of Guise ” Note 4 . Meanwhile, in the garden of the castle, Henri de Guise has fun games of passion and kisses with Marie de Mezieres he affectionately names Mariette. Around them, other young people seem to cheer, including Catherine and Charlesrespectively the younger sister and the younger brother of Henri. In the meantime, Philippe and Count de Chabannes reach the entrance to the castle. A new duel ensues between Henri and Philippe who regularly organize this type of meetings. Very quickly the fight is interrupted by the elders who must inform them of their decisions. Marie, who remains distant from the council, is worried. Henri de Guise, supported by his uncle the Cardinal of Lorraine, is outraged by the decision of Mezieres to prefer a Montpensier for his daughter rather than a Guise (even if it is actually only his younger brother, Charles) and wants to attack Philippe but Chabannes intervenes and receives the wrath of Henry. The Due de Montpensier asks his son to keep the count near him. Marie suffers the violence of her father and the remonstrances of her mother so that she agrees to marry Philippe de Montpensier. When night falls, Marie goes to kiss Henri in his bed and confesses that she has accepted this marriage to her parents.

The marriage between Marie and Philippe takes place in the castle, followed by a rather dull meal, mainly composed of eels. Mary is prepared for her “wedding night” while the respective fathers wait while playing chess. A duenna then brings the layers of Mary to prove that the act of deflowering was done by the newlyweds. From then on, the two men congratulate each other. The next day, accompanied by the Count of Chabannes, Marie and her new husband leave the castle of Mézières for the family of Montpensier who is now his. During a halt, Chabannes exchanged some remarks about his feats of arms during the war, his decision to follow the Protestant army of Condéthen his reversal and his crime of having killed “in the name of Christ” a pregnant woman forcing him, out of disgust, to give up the fight. Marie discovers with worry her new castle (called Montsurbrac in the film), presented as “rustic” by Philippe. She chooses, for her, a room overlooking the sunrise.

Henri de Guise.

Philippe’s mother is ill, but her husband, the Duc de Montpensier, decides to return to Paris with her. Philip must follow him and leave Mary at the request of the king. Before leaving the castle, the Count of Chabannes gives him some advice, in return Philip speaks to plead his cause to the court and asks him to ensure the instruction of Mary, became the Princess of Montpensier and who the day comes will ensure his rank at the court. Courses of Latin, writing and astronomy (we must understand in fact astrology ) are lavished on Mary by the count, leading it into digressions of a philosophical order. Taking advantage of an outing where they gather wild celery together, Marie questions Chabannes about love and confesses his own suffering.

Meanwhile, the war is raging. Henri de Guise and Philippe de Montpensier fight valiantly in blood and dust. Taking hold of the Condé banner, they claim victory over the heretics. Henri takes advantage of the end of the fighting to evoke Marie Philippe, it goes away without answering. At the Château de Montsurbrac, after having stealthily assisted in the frolic of his servant Jeanne, Marie evokes sin with Chabannes. The latter declares to him not to be his confessor and even ends up admitting his love to him, Marie puts him in his place and immediately forgives him his words. From then on, the conversation moves on to poetry … Some time later, a peddler arrives at the Montpensier estate and gives news of the war to the people of the castle, announcing the victory of Henri de Guise and the defeat ofGaspard II of Coligny and his reformed troops. We then witness the cutting of a wild boar by the peasants of the estate and Marie is invited to participate. All this blood entails a conversation with his preceptor about the blood of Christ, the religion and the Faith which leads to this sentence of Chabannes: “we must not understand, we must believe” . Claimed by Philip, the Count of Chabannes must leave the castle. Before leaving, he asks Marie to write regularly to her husband.

After joining Philippe who complains of his condition, Chabannes accompanies him to the camp of Prince Henry, Duke of Anjou , brother of the King of France . While a storm is unleashed on the camp, Philippe de Montpensier discovers the prince royal, taking Polish lessons with a preceptor because it is anticipated by his family to claim the throne of Poland Note 5. The Valois immediately suspends the lesson and rejoices at Philippe’s coming while complaining of the risk of suffering (for himself) an arranged marriage, but Philippe does not react. In his turn, Henri de Guise, worn out, made his appearance in the tent of the royal prince to announce the truce. Henri de Valois inquired about his bad appearance, and he complained of having witnessed the agony of his companion in arms, and then left the prince’s tent. The Duke of Anjou then asks Philip to introduce the man he accompanies. François de Chabannes runs. The royal prince seems to doubt somewhat the sincerity of the Count’s reversal, but still decides to give him his confidence. Together, they share a bottle of good wine.

Philippe, accompanied by Chabannes, return to the castle and find Marie. Montpensier covers her with compliments while Marie asks her if the war is over what Philippe seems to believe. They find themselves alone in their room and Marie seems to scroll to his caresses. Philippe thinks then that the war has separated them too long. He leaves to find Chabannes and both talk about Marie. Philippe demands that Chabannes call Marie by her title of princess and only under her title.

One morning, a courier from Philippe’s father, claiming him in Paris, arrives at Montsurbrac Castle. Chabannes brings it in the room of the spouses while they are both naked and entwined in their bed. Chabannes seems embarrassed and Marie seems delighted. Philippe reads the letter and talks about his return to the court.

Henry, Duke of Anjou, younger brother of the king.

The Duke of Anjou and Henri de Guise straddle the countryside of the Montpensier area. Passing by a small river, they discover Marie on a boat. The royal prince realizes that his cousin Henri knows her and does not seem indifferent to her charm and asks her, henceforth, her name. Anjou asks to be presented to Marie and the boat approaches. The prince hoists himself in the boat, stumbles and acknowledges having been disturbed by the beauty of the young woman. This invites him to the castle and on the way, they talk about hunting. The five main characters of the film, that is to say, the Count of Chabannes, the Duke of Anjou, the Duke of Guise, Philippe de Montpensier and his wife Marie are around a meal. Henri de Guise took the opportunity to challenge Chabannes on his attitude of change and “his experience with heretics.” The count replied that he saw so much bravery and cruelty among Catholics and heretics and that he therefore decided to withdraw from the fighting. Henri D’anjou announces that Chabannes is “man of feeling”, while Guise is “man of impulse”. The Duke de Guise retorts that he is always faithful to his feelings and to his “heart that has never deceived him”. Marie, questioned in her turn by the King’s brother, said he was too uncertain to pronounce. He then confesses his feelings for her during the meal. Once he has returned to his wife’s room, Philippe reprimands his wife for his attitude, which he regards as suspect, especially with regard to Guise, Marie reproaches her for her injustice towards her, and evokes the chance of a meeting. Philippe argues that Mary did not smile at him during the meal. On leaving, he confides his spite to Chabannes, then he meets Henri d’Anjou who wants to talk to him.

The next morning, Philippe passes his wife’s room, puts his ear to the door, then goes down the stairs of his castle and goes on horseback. Marie gets up and complains to Chabannes of the attitude of her husband. After some exchanges she recognizes that after being happy to welcome them all, she would now be happy to see them all leave … Riding in the forest, Henri d’Anjou explains to Guise that he understood his feeling towards the princess of Montpensier. Henri de Guise denies it but the royal prince does not change his mind and goes away threatening him. Meanwhile, the Duke de Montpensier, who has just lost his wife, but is thinking of remarrying very quickly, demands the arrival of his son Philippe and especially his daughter-in-law, Marie, with him in Paris.

Hardly arrived at the Louvre, Marie meets Henri de Guise who comes to teach him, as well as his husband, the marriage of the Duke de Montpensier, now widowed, with Catherine’s own sister Henri de Guise. The Duke arrives then, but a little late, to learn the news to his family, his son Philippe seems rather upset. Catherine, the sister of Henri de Guise is even more upset and confides, in tears, to Mary who, probably remembering the recommendations of his mother, explains that it is the job of a woman of his rank than to obey. Catherine’s tears quickly turn into laughter, with the idea that Marie will now have to call her “my mother”. Then comes Henri d’Anjou who announces to Marie that his mother, Catherine de Médiciswill receive in audience the next day. He profited by it adroitly to confess his feelings.

Catherine de Medici.

A new day begins. While waiting to be received by the queen-mother, Marie meets in the antechamber, the Duke of Guise who speaks to him with tenderness but who can not say more because he is surprised by Philippe who provokes him in a duel. Some exchanges ensued (one realizes that Guise is left-handed), but they are very quickly interrupted by Henri d’Anjou, alerted by Marie. He threatens them with the worst punishment if they pull the sword against each other. He offers them each a post to keep them away. Finally received in audience by the queen, surrounded by his famous squadron flying young girls Note 6 , Marie learns from the very mouth of Catherine de Medici, that she knows everything about her, then motto on the

“There are two opposite powers on you: Saturn and Venus. Righteousness, the head, the law on one side. Desire, sensuality, the body of the other. Who will win ? ”

During the discussion, we hear the King, Charles IX cough behind a screen, but, ill, 3 he remains behind). The queen then confesses that Marguerite , her daughter and sister of the king and Henry of Anjou wants to marry the Duke of Guise, which Henri de Guise will challenge some time later, once the hearing of Mary ended. Both hide under stairs, kiss, but Marie runs away. Shortly after, she meets Chabannes and recommends him, by joke, to become a priest, even a confessor. She reminds him of the resumption of his relations with Guise but she admits he does not want to give in to him. Chabannes immediately warns her and recommends that he forget Henri de Guise. She promises it to him.

A big ball is held at the King’s court. All the protagonists of this story are present. In search of his wife, Philippe is interrupted by Catherine, who wants to save time for Mary, who is looking for the Duke of Guise to make an appointment, but she is mistaken, because covered with a mask covering half of the face, it is difficult to recognize some members of the ball and his mistake leads him to confuse Henry of Anjou with Henri de Guise who, dissatisfied, receives the message. and understands the misunderstanding without saying anything to Mary. Wrathful, the king’s brother takes Guise to his side and declares that he feels outraged at his enterprising knowledge with his sister Marguerite and Marie. He then addresses Marie by preventing, by his guard, Philip to approach her. He declares to her the treachery of Guise, who prefers Marguerite to her. Mad with jealousy and feeling humiliated (but not knowing exactly why) Philippe wants to hit Marie and Chabannes prevents it. Furious, Philippe decides to send Marie back to their castle, the next day and asks Chabannes to position guards and a dog to monitor the gate of their Parisian mansion house where Marie, Philippe and their people for this night. The count goes out into the gardens to execute his order and falls on Henri de Guise who threatens him with his dagger because he absolutely wants to talk to Mary. Chabannes informs him that if the princess wants to speak to her, she will put a light in her window, then he leaves the duke and runs to inform Marie who decides to light some candles. She hesitates, however, to leave these lights in front of her window. Henri de Guise then enters the building, kills the watchdog, who screams waking Philip, then goes into Mary’s room and confesses his love by denouncing the duplicity of Anjou who took advantage of the Marie’s mistake to destabilize her. Suddenly, Chabannes burst into the room and then asks Guise to leave because Philippe de Montpensier arrives. Guise runs and disappears. Philippe, after having forced the door of his wife discovers it with Chabannes. He misunderstands his friend’s attitude and chases him. Philippe then returns to his room, then, calm returned, Guise returns to see Marie and they make love. who screams waking Philip, then goes up to Mary’s room and confesses his love by denouncing the duplicity of Anjou who took advantage of the mistake of Mary to destabilize. Suddenly, Chabannes burst into the room and then asks Guise to leave because Philippe de Montpensier arrives. Guise runs and disappears. Philippe, after having forced the door of his wife discovers it with Chabannes. He misunderstands his friend’s attitude and chases him. Philippe then returns to his room, then, calm returned, Guise returns to see Marie and they make love. who screams waking Philip, then goes up to Mary’s room and confesses his love by denouncing the duplicity of Anjou who took advantage of the mistake of Mary to destabilize. Suddenly, Chabannes burst into the room and then asks Guise to leave because Philippe de Montpensier arrives. Guise runs and disappears. Philippe, after having forced the door of his wife discovers it with Chabannes. He misunderstands his friend’s attitude and chases him. Philippe then returns to his room, then, calm returned, Guise returns to see Marie and they make love. Chabannes burst into the room and then asks Guise to leave because Philippe de Montpensier arrives. Guise runs and disappears. Philippe, after having forced the door of his wife discovers it with Chabannes. He misunderstands his friend’s attitude and chases him. Philippe then returns to his room, then, calm returned, Guise returns to see Marie and they make love. Chabannes burst into the room and then asks Guise to leave because Philippe de Montpensier arrives. Guise runs and disappears. Philippe, after having forced the door of his wife discovers it with Chabannes. He misunderstands his friend’s attitude and chases him. Philippe then returns to his room, then, calm returned, Guise returns to see Marie and they make love.

The day after the massacre of St. Bartholomew , representation of the xix th century.
One morning in front of the Louvre , oil on canvas by Édouard Debat-Ponsan , 1880 , Clermont-Ferrand, Roger Quilliot Museum of Art .

Marie decides to return alone, on horseback, to the castle of Montsurbrac, and at Philippe’s request promises to send him a letter every week. Meanwhile, Chabannes finds refuge in an inn. He wrote a letter full of compassion and advice to Mary while in Paris we are preparing for a massacre. We are in the night of August 24, 1572 and it is St. Bartholomew . Men in arms, commanded by the Duke of Guise, instigator of the carnage 4enter homes identified as Protestant and kill the inhabitants there. While François de Chabannes are trying to leave Paris, he prevents men from Guise to kill a pregnant woman and dies in turn. In the morning, Philippe finds his corpse in the street and the letter he sent to Marie. He makes the decision to return to his castle slanged. He finds Marie and announces the departure of Henry of Anjou for Poland and the death of Chabannes. He gives her the letter for him. informing him also of Henri’s marriage with the Princess of Cleves. The marriage contract must be signed the next day in Blois. Mary decides to go to the wedding. Philippe leaves the room of his wife and cries in front of his door and Marie listens to him: if it decides to go to Blois to see the Duke of Guise, it is a reason for breaking up between them.

The next day, Marie is at the castle of Blois. She meets Henri de Guise to announce that she is ready to break the marriage with Philippe de Montpensier, to join him, but Henri shies away and explains that he is engaged with Madame De Cleves. Marie understands the letter from Chabannes, which announced the treachery of Guise to him and pointed it out to him. Marie leaves Bois and in her ride she rethinks to the letter of her tutor:

“Having lost the esteem of your husband and the heart of your lover, at least you will remain the perfect friendship of Francis, Count of Chabannes. ”

The last scene of the film presents Princess Marie de Montpensier, alone, dressed in black, bowing to the grave of Count Francois de Chabannes. While stating inwardly:

“As Francois de Chabannes had retired from the war, I withdrew from love”

Then she goes away into a snowy landscape, under a bright winter sun, still hoping in thought, that her life is brief.

Main characters

  • Marie, the princess of Montpensier
The central character of the film, Marie is a young girl of her time, about twenty years old. A high-ranking aristocrat, she was married by her family, against her will, to a man of her status, while she was hoping for another. It hesitate long between his duty and his passion and will ultimately betrayed by the man behind this passion 5 .
  • Philippe, the prince of Montpensier
Her husband, also in his early twenties, is very physical, somewhat self-effacing but who will assert himself during the film as a jealous and possessive husband. He is also very concerned about his status. He defends the Catholic cause in the royal camp, without any qualms. He will act with some inelegant vis-à-vis Mary when he intimera him the order to break their vows if Mary was once again visiting Henri de Guise 6 .
  • Henry, the Duke of Guise
His lover, young and fiery, the same age as the two previous characters, does not hesitate to fight, or even to fight in endless duels for fun. He has a high regard for his person and his destiny and he does not hesitate to sacrifice his love for Mary to satisfy his ambitions 7 .
  • François, count of Chabannes
His preceptor and confidant, a man of about fifty, the count lived a life of war and rapine and he is tired, worn, of this bloody career. He, too, is in love with the princess, but with a measured love of consideration, esteem and kindness. The princess will never forget this man who was able to understand and who will sacrifice himself for her 8 .
  • Henri, the Duke of Anjou
Brother of the King of France, about twenty years old. He is a powerful and cunning man, but also an ambiguous one, who likes to let him know how to threaten his friends. He will love Marie from the first second, but her status will prevent her from being as close to her as he would like. 9 .

Technical sheet

  • Director: Bertrand Tavernier
  • Scenario: Jean Cosmos , François-Olivier Rousseau and Bertrand Tavernier
    after the new eponym of Madame de La Fayette
  • Casting director: Gérard Moulèvrier
  • Historical Advisor: Didier Le Fur
  • Sets: Guy-Claude François 10 , assisted by François Decaux and Julie Wassef
  • Accessories: Lionel Calllari and Gilles Géraud
  • Costumes: Caroline de Vivaise
  • Photography: Bruno de Keyzer
  • Editing: Sophie Brunet
  • Music: Philippe Sarde
  • Production: Laurent Brochand
  • Budget: € 12,882,453 11
  • Distribution Company: StudioCanal
  • Language: French
  • Duration: 139 min


  • Mélanie Thierry : Marie, actually Renée d’Anjou, Marquise de Mézières, princess of Montpensier , nicknamed Mariette
  • Gaspard Ulliel : Henry of Lorraine, Duke of Guise , nicknamed the scarred
  • Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet : Philippe, prince of Montpensier , in reality François de Bourbon, dolphin of Auvergne
  • Raphaël Personnaz : Henri of France, Duke of Anjou
  • Lambert Wilson : Count François de Chabannes
  • Michel Vuillermoz : the Duke of Montpensier , Philippe’s father
  • Judith Chemla : Catherine of Lorraine, Duchess of Montpensier
  • Philippe Magnan : the Marquis de Mézières, in reality Nicolas d’Anjou-Mézières
  • Jean-Pol Dubois : the cardinal of Lorraine
  • César Domboy : the duke of Mayenne
  • Anatole of Bodinat : the Duke of Joyeuse
  • Eric Rulliat: the count of Quelus
  • Samuel Theis : Valletta
  • Florence Thomassin : the Marquise de Mezieres, actually Gabrielle de Mareuil-Mezieres
  • Christine Brücher : the Duchess of Montpensier
  • Evelina Meghnagi : Catherine of Medici
  • Charles Petit: Nicolas
  • Joséphine de La Baume : Jeanne, the next
  • Jean-Yves Roan: the hawker
  • Nathalie Krebs: the duenna of Mary
  • Alain Sachs : the innkeeper
  • Tomasz Białkowski  (pl) : the Polish teacher
  • Jean-Claude Calon : the duke’s tailor
  • Catherine Bris : the duenna of Catherine
  • Main


Genesis of the film

After shooting a movie in the United States , in the Cajun country , and whose script was already an adaptation of a famous novel in his country, Bertrand Tavernier decided to return to France to shoot a swashbuckler film in the tradition of the Three Musketeers and Captain Fracasse , so dear to the 1960s and whose Tavernier absolutely wanted to resume the style but caring dialogues, sets, costumes and photography. His choice will focus more precisely on the sixteenth century century, when it had not yet addressed in subsequent achievements which part of the religious wars will portray scenes of epic battles and violent 13 .

Following numerous financial difficulties, filming had to undergo significant interruptions or risk remain unfinished 14 . The film owes much of its production to the intervention of Frédéric Mitterrand , then Minister of Culture of the government of François Fillon .

In an interview given in 2010 to the French Film , the Minister recognizes the financial crisis facing the French cinema because of the economic situation. He also acknowledges during the interview that in August 2009 he financed the film in order to “save Bertrand Tavernier from an industrial accident” 15 . Frédéric Mitterrand will recount this episode in his book La Récréationwhere he indicates on August 17: “Victory, the princess of Montpensier is saved. Filming can begin. ” 16 .


The main public and private organizations that financed this film are the CNC , France Télévisions , the Media Program of the European Union, the FFA (German Federal Agency ), Pandora Film , the Auvergne region and studiocanal . A large part of the funding is therefore provided by public participations 17


The process of shooting and screening of this film is the CinemaScope without special effects or digital calibration 18 .

Bertrand Tavernier privileges cavalier scenes, without sparing the use of rugged terrain and horse racing to suggest the effort of the actors, the camera being used against the angle , according to the director, “to give an effect of grandeur” . The dialogues between comedians perched on horses is also favored 19 .

This film was shot over a period of eight weeks 20 , mainly during the autumn of 2009 , largely at Messilhac Castle , a building located in the Cantal department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region . Some visitable parts of the castle are recognizable in the film. These include, among others, the kitchen, the large living room or bedroom of the queen room in which it is still, in 2018, some decorative elements of shooting 21 .

Numerous scenes were also filmed in the region Loire Valley-Center 22 : at Jacques-Heart Palace of Bourges 23 , at the Abbey Noirlac in Bruere-Allichamps 23 and Meillant castle in the Cher ; at the castle of Blois 22 in the Loir-et-Cher ; in the city of Chinon 22 in Indre-et-Loire .

Filming was also held at the Château du Plessis-Bourré 24 in Écuillé , Maine-et-Loire , and in the Aveyronnais village of Lacalm 20 .



The princess of Montpensier
Soundtrack of Philippe Sarde
Exit 25
Checked in Abbey Road Studios
Kind movie soundtrack
Author Philippe Sarde
Label Universal Music Group

The French composer Philippe Sarde , who signs the entire soundtrack of this film, finds Bertrand Tavernier sixteen years after signing the music of the film The Girl of Artagnan . This composer, very interested in the cinema, is often in search of particular sounds where the classical repertoire rubs shoulders with a more contemporary writing sometimes close to the atonality. In many films, his music combines different and rather singular instruments. He is best known internationally for being the composer of the music of The War of Fire , film prehistoric fiction , directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud , in 1981 26.

Elaboration of the soundtrack

According to the words of composer Philippe Sarde, published by a site specializing in film music 27 , the director of the film wanted a musical accompaniment of a certain “grandeur”. From then on, the composer’s idea was to deploy a great musical theme around the love story, the central theme of the film and which could go “to seek the lyricism very far, very high in the treble”. A proper theme was written around the princess and another around the count of Chabannes. The use of instruments such as the viola da gamba , the recorder and the cornetallow to maintain atmosphere in relation to the time of the film. However, if the instrumentation remains of the time the composition is modern, entirely composed by Philippe Sarde, who admits having added some “impulses” of jazz, in a nod to Bertrand Tavernier, great amateur of this music.

The recordings of the musical selections were made on five sequences in the Abbey Road studios in London with 25 musicians. During this exercise, Philippe Sarde was assisted by Nic Raine, who was previously the former assistant to the British composer John Barry 28 .

List of titles

o title duration
1. Air Chabanes 2:08
2. After the battle 1:55
3. Under the spell of Guise 2:49
4. The Montpensier Ride 3:26
5. Chabannes joins the war 2:27
6. He looked like Henri de Guise 3:48
7. Confession of Chabannes 2:34
8. Battle 4:08
9. Against the tree / The Lesson 3:35
10. Reception at the Montpensier 4:45
11. Tragic mistake 2:39
12. Preparations for the massacre 3:46
13. Death of Chabannes 3:13
14. A soul as proud as yours 2:14
15. Mary withdraws from love 3:12


Release dates

  •  Germany : Presentation at the International Festival
of the Munich film 
  •  Belgium : the
  •  France : the
    (previewed in 21 French cities, October 17, 2010)
  •  United States :
  • DVD release in France: the
The “bonus” of the DVD includes an integral commentary by Bertrand Tavernier, the making of , a report on the director, a cross interview of Mélanie Thierry and Rapahël Personnaz and, finally, an interview with the historical adviser of the film 29
  • Classification: all public

Box office

  •  France (from the ): 702,645 cumulative entries 30
including 237,593 admissions in Paris
  • Cinematographic context:
Bertrand Tavernier’s film was released in cinemas in direct competition with three French films released during the same period : Les Petits Mouchoirs , a film by Guillaume Canet , which, for a slightly higher budget than the Princess of Montpensier , will host more than 5 million entries, Potiche by François Ozon which comptabilsera over 2 million entries for a lower budget film Tavernier, and finally no and me by Zabou Breitman that will only 175,000 entries. One can thus evoke a very mixed success for the film of Bertrand Tavernier 31 .


In the specialized press, the reception is mostly quite good, especially in magazines such as Studio Ciné Live , Télérama , Le Figaroscope and Brazil , the latter giving the best criticism considering this film as “a real spectacle popular, epic and deeply honest” . The monthly First is significantly mitigated, evoking, as the critic Bernard Archour some confusion, but acknowledges some momentum, particularly in the succession of love affairs 32 .

Les Inrockuptibles magazine presents a much more acidic criticism regretting sentimental scenes and “lyophilized” battles by adding the comment “neither done nor to be done” 33 , but it is from the review of Cahiers du cinémathat the criticism will come the most acerbic and denounces this film, as being, according to the article, a play interpreted by “a bad troupe of acrobats” 34 .

Broadcast on television

  • On Canal + : 2011
  • On France televisions : 2013

Analysis of the film

Loyalty adaptation to novel

According to the opinion of most critics and readers of the new 35 , this work remains fairly faithful, in its entirety, to the story of Madame de Lafayette, at least in the course of the action. However, the character of the Count of Chabannes, who remains an impotent witness in the novel, acquires in the film a little more relief and becomes a character much more present, more empathetic and especially more active.

At the sensual level, Bertrand Tavernier remains wiser than at the level of the novel, and desires to attach more to the customs of this royal court of the Renaissance . The director prefers to film combat scenes, dialogue exchanges between the characters by emphasizing the elegance of the time and through sumptuous decorations elaborated in carefully selected frames, very characteristic elements of the film that will allow him to receive his only reward at the 36th ceremony of the Caesar .

In an interview, Bertrand Tavernier acknowledged having wanted to set the story in a much more historical context that would make the original author 36 .

“… // … me de La Fayette, after the seventeenth century, written on the sixteenth. Knowing that the 17th century had become a very puritanical century, whereas the 16th century was not, some filters were removed, but the feelings depicted were never twisted. We find then a truth, a very exciting nudity. ”

The social life of this time is not described in the news and Bertrand Tavernier did not depart from this rule. However, indirectly, it still tells us how aristocratic families managed the education of their children in accordance with the rules of their caste (scene of the discussion between Mary and her parents about her marriage ).

For the sake of respecting the historical, the director and screenwriter have benefited from the assistance and advice of the historian Didier Le Fur , a specialist in France in the xvi th century, also gave an interview broadcast on bonuses the DVD of the film, to evoke this period.

Scenario and dialogs

According to the director, the film remains fairly free in its construction, however, it presents dialogues developed within the framework of a certain mastery of the French language, “neither modern nor falsely archaic” in the original idea of Madame de Lafayette and without anachronism .

The dialogues are, in large part, the fruit of the work of Jean Cosmos , writer specializing in historical adaptation to film and television who has already worked with Bertrand Tavernier. The latter considers, moreover, that this scriptwriter and dialogist manages to respect certain emotions while managing to distil “a delicious humor” 37 .

Selections, appointments, awards and honors

Awards and Distinctions

25 th 2011 Cabourg Film Festival

1 golden swann
– Raphaël Personnaz receives the golden swann of the male revelation
36 th César ceremony of 2011

1 Caesar :
– Caroline de Vivaise receives the Caesar of the best costumes .


36 th César ceremony of 2011

5 nominations :
– Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet is named in the list of the five actors named in the list of the best male prospects , for the role of François de Montpensier (the prize will however be given to Édgar Ramírez ).
– Bertrand Tavernier , Jean Cosmos and François-Olivier Rousseau are named in the list of writers nominated for Best Adaptation . (The award will be given to Robert Harris and Roman Polanski ).
– Guy-Claude François is named in the list of the Top 5 Decorators . (The prize will be awarded to Hugues Tissandier ).
– Bruno de Keyzer is named in the list of the Top 5 Photographers . (The prize will be awarded to Caroline Champetier ).
– Philippe Sarde is named in the list of the five Best Musicians . (The prize will be awarded to Alexandre Desplat ).


Cannes Film Festival 2010

The film is selected in the official competition organized in May 2010 but it obtains no prize.
Louis Delluc Prize 2010

The The film was part of the official selection of eight films selected for obtaining the Prix Louis Delluc 2010, but he gets no prize 38 .
Golden Stars of the press 2011

The film will benefit from two nominations during the ceremony of the Golden Stars of the French cinema of the year 2011 but it obtains no price.
Gérard of the cinema 2011

During the 6th ceremony Gérard film organized in 2011, humorous parody of the grand prix broadcast on the television channel Paris Première , the film is quoted in the category of ” Gérard du petit cul “, but does not receive the breeze block ( name of the prize in question), given to another film.

Around the film

Around adaptation

  • This is the first adaptation of a classic novel for Bertrand Tavernier and the third adaptation of a historical film located under the Ancien Régime , the precedents being That the party begins and The Daughter of d’Artagnan , whose scenario had already been developed in collaboration with Jean Cosmos . This author was also the co-scriptwriter of Bertrand Tavernier for the film Captain Conan . This is also the first film by Bertrand Tavernier taking place under the French Renaissance .

Around sets and costumes

  • Although not credited to the credits, the painter and illustrator Marie-Laurence Gaudrat , daughter of the co-writer, Jean Cosmos , declares, on his site, to have participated in the sets as a painter of certain paintings of the film, the organization and the creation of the sets being, they, ensured by the team of Guy-Claude François 39 .
  • Costume designer Caroline de Vivaise , the only Cesarized film professional, received her third Cesar Award, after Germinal in 1994, and Gabrielle in 2006, two other French historical films.

Around the distribution

  • According to his own statements, this is the first time that Bertrand Tavernier was using a casting director , in this case Gérard Moulèvrier. The latter also allowed him to meet the actress Mélanie Thierry and the actor Raphaël Personnaz , both finally engaged in the production 40 .
  • At the origin of the project, Bertrand Tavernier had thought of the French actor Fabrice Luchini to play the role of Count de Chabannes, but the actor, not being used to riding, finally declined the offer. Bertrand Tavernier then turned to the French actor Lambert Wilson . In addition, Bertrand Tavernier hired Raphaël Personnaz for a secondary role (that of Nicolas) and not for that of the Count of Anjou, but the departure of the actor Louis Garrel , yet chosen for this role at the project level, pushed Bertrand Tavernier to propose this role to Raphaël Personnaz 41 .
  • The French actor Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet , after playing the role of Prince de Clèves in a previous adaptation of a novel by Madame de Lafayette called La Belle Personne , plays the role of Prince de Montpensier in this film. It remains to this day the only actor to have played two major characters from the novels of Madame de Lafayette in a film adaptation of the xxi th century .
  • At the beginning of the shooting, the four main actors (Melanie Thierry, Gaspard Ulliel, Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet and Raphaël Personnaz) were all under 30, giving an average age of between 25 and 26 for this group of four heads. Poster of the film, yet average age higher than the real historical protagonists of 1572, which was 24 years 42 .
  • The director Alain Sachs who organized plays of the classical theater, in particular, the Bourgeois Gentilhomme at the Paris theater and other more contemporary pieces in different great theater of Peers, plays a small role of … tavernier, in the film .
  • The French actor, Jean-Pol Dubois , who plays the role of Cardinal Charles of Lorraine , participated, in 2003, in the distribution of the French TV movie , Saint-Germain or the Negotiation which takes place exactly at the same time as La Princesse of Montpensier . There is also the character of the Cardinal of Lorraine, but played by Philippe Noël , actor Jean-Pol Dubois embodying another character, more secondary.

Around the shooting scenes

  • It was during the filming of the second duel scene between Guise and Montpensier (when separated by Anjou) that the film crew learns of the death of French actor Quivrin 43 .
  • During a violent scene (probably the same), the actor Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet unintentionally hurt the tip of his dagger, the actor Gaspard Ulliel mouth 44 .

Around shooting locations

  • The Chateau du Plessis-Bourre , located in the Maine-et-Loire , in which some were shot scene of the film, also hosted teams shootings of French films such as Donkey Skin of Jacques Demy , The Hunchback of Philippe of Broca , and Fanfan the Tulip of Gerard Krawczyk .

Posterity film

This film, as well as the new eponym of which it is the adaptation, was chosen by the French Ministry of National Education to be included in the program of the final class of the literary series, for the school year 2017-2018 (and thus appearing as subject of the baccalaureate), the field of study being: “Literature and languages of the image” 45 .

Risk of confusion

Another film, called The Exchange of Princesses , released in 2017, evokes the marriage of a princess of Montpensier, but it is about Louise-Élisabeth , the fifth daughter of the Regent Philippe d’Orléans whose House has become the owner title of ” Montpensier ” in 1693 . Lambert Wilson is also part of the cast.

Notes and references


  1. ↑ in fact, the places where, historically, these scenes are supposed to be located
  2. ↑ The Hotel du Petit Bourbon, located 2, rue de Tournon in Paris
  3. ↑ The Chateau de Blois is the only historic site used authentically (and therefore appropriate) in the film
  4. ↑ house that was positioned in “champion of the Catholic and Roman cause”
  5. ↑ title that he will eventually get at the end of the film
  6. ↑ invention derived from the black legend of Queen Catherine and does not refer to any historical reality


  1. ↑ Book Desire and luck, Frederic Mitterrand, Robert Laffont edition  [ archive ]
  2. ↑ Site-Actua Litte page on Princess of Montpensier  [ archive ]
  3. ↑ Site chrisagde page on Tuberculosis of Charles IX  [ archive ]
  4. ↑ The Point, on page Henri de Guise  [ archive ]
  5. ↑ Site of France Inter, page on the Princess of Montpensier  [ archive ]
  6. ↑ Site “purloined letters” page on the Duke of Montpensier  [ archive ]
  7. ↑ Site “purloined letters” page on the duke  [ archive ]
  8. ↑ Site “stolen letters”, page on the count of Chabannes  [ archive ]
  9. ↑ Site “purloined letters” page on the Duke of Anjou  [ archive ]
  10. ↑ Site adciné, page on The Princess of Monpensier [ archive ]
  11. ↑ jpbox office, page on The Princess of Montpensier [ archive ]
  12. ↑ Frederic Mitterrand , desire and luck , Paris, Robert Laffont,, 357 p. (ISBN  978-2-221-12951-7 ).
  13. ↑ The World , ” The Princess of Montpensier : Love in the time of religious wars”  [ archive ]
  14. ↑ This page on the Princess of Montpensier, a film that divides  [ archive ]
  15. ↑ Site black screen, page on the princess of Montpensier  [ archive ]
  16. ↑ The Recreation Mitterrand, extracted  [ archive ]
  17. ↑ Site Ciclic page on The Princess of Montpensier [ archive ]
  18. ↑ Site of the Express , page on the shooting of the film  [ archive ]
  19. ↑ Website of The Express , “Bertrand Tavernier says filming The Princess of Montpensier ”  [ archive ]
  20. ↑ a and b Secrets of filming ”  [ archive ] , on  [ archive ] , AlloCiné, (accessed November 21, 2010 )
  21. ↑ Site Castle Messilhac  [ archive ]
  22. ↑ a , b and c Jocelyne Thuet, ” The Center, the setting of the Princess of Montpensier ”  [ archive ] ,  [ archive ] , France Télévisions , (accessed November 21, 2010 )
  23. ↑ a and b Benoît Morin, ” Princess of Montpensier extras found the” fabulous “shooting ”  [ archive ] , on  [ archive ] , Group Center-France, (accessed November 21, 2010 )
  24. ↑ Veronique Escolano, ” Bertrand Tavernier arm of Montpensier – Nantes ”  [ archive ] , on  [ archive ] , Ouest-France, (accessed November 21, 2010 )
  25. ↑ ” The Princess of Montpensier (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) ”  [ archive ] , on iTunes (accessed July 17, 2017 )
  26. ↑ Universal Music site, file of Philippe Sarde  [ archive ]
  27. ↑ Site Cinezik page on Princess of Montpensier  [ archive ]
  28. ↑ Site quartetrecords page Princess of Montpensier [ archive ]
  29. ↑ Site “Cinema games news”, page on the DVD of the film  [ archive ]
  30. ↑ Allo-ciné, music sheet  [ archive ]
  31. ↑ Site Intercinema, Archives November 2010  [ archive ]
  32. ↑ allociné Site page on the critical press in The Princess of Montpensier [ archive ]
  33. ↑ Site Inrocks page on The Princess of Montpensier [ archive ]
  34. ↑ Cahiers du Cinémas , Monthly No. 661, November 2010
  35. ↑ page Website page on Princess of Montpensier  [ archive ]
  36. ↑ Cine club of Caen, page on the princess of Montpensier  [ archive ]
  37. ↑ Le Figaro , interview: “Tavernier in the whirlwind of history”  [ archive ]
  38. ↑ Nominations for the Louis-Delluc Prize: the variety of French cinema in the spotlight [ archive ] in Les Inrockuptibles on November 24, 2010.
  39. ↑ Website of Marie-Laurence Gaudrat  [ archive ]
  40. ↑ Site abuse movie page on Princess of Montpensier  [ archive ]
  41. ↑ Site allo cine, page turning secrets  [ archive ]
  42. ↑ Site lettresvolees, page on the actors of the film  [ archive ]
  43. ↑ Site stolen letters page on the character of the Duke of Anjou  [ archive ]
  44. ↑ Le Figaro , Article Tavernier arm of the Princess of Montpensier  [ archive ]
  45. ↑ National Education website, official bulletin  [ archive ]

Leave a comment