Monday, February 15, 2010

Film: Henri 4

The sixteenth century is lighting up movie screens, at least across Europe: Henri IV, an epic film by German director Jo Baier about the king who brought the bloody Wars of Religion to a close and reunited a divided France, debuted at the Berlin Film Festival last week. The movie is based on the 1935 novel by Thomas Mann's brother Heinrich Mann and pits the wily Henri against Catherine de Medici, determined to keep her own brood on the throne.

You can read a review of the movie here and watch the trailer (in German) here. [Unfortunately, the review transposes numerals in the date and describes the events as happening in 1653 instead of 1563, calling the drama an "entertaining romp about epic 17th century [sic] conflict with lots of fighting in court, on the battlefield, and in bed."

According to Variety, the film has scored buyers from Eastern Europe to South America, but so far no word of North American sales. If anyone catches the film in Europe, I'd love to hear what you think. Henri VI seems to cover much of the same ground as the 1994 film La Reine Margot, starring Isabelle Adjani and Daniel Auteuil; it would be interesting to compare the two films and see whether Baier has a new take on the material.

16 comments:

JAD said...

I haven't seen this one yet, but the La Reine Margot was an interesting movie. If you haven't seen it, I definitely recommend it! Thanks for the interesting post!
~Julianne

Julianne Douglas said...

I saw La Reine Margot too long ago to make any intelligent comments about it now, but I remember parts of it struck me as way too modern. That's why I'd love to see Henry IV--to see if the director was able to take the same material but maintain a more sixteenth-centuryish sensibility.

My favorite film set in the 16th is Le Retour de Martin Guerre (The Return of Martin Guerre) with Gerard Depardieu. Maybe I'll watch it again and do a post about it. Have you seen that one?

Gillian said...

This looks interesting- I'll definitely try to see this. Thanks for posting.

Julianne Douglas said...

Gillian, please come back and tell us what you think!

Catherine Delors said...

Funny, IMDB doesn't announce any French release date... :)
Sounds interesting, though. The link to the trailer didn't seem to work. Do you have another one handy, Julianne?

P. M. Doolan said...

Henry IV is withour a doubt my favourite French king so I must see this film. Whatsmore, i live in central Europe, so I'll check to see if it is playing anywhere nearby. I'm afraid i didn't like La Reine Margot, except for the wonderful wedding scene at the start. Far too many scenes of the main male character semi-naked and being cut by yet another sword- thrust - it ended up being just silly I thought. I agree, Martin Guerre is outstanding. If I catch Henry IV I will let you know.

Julianne Douglas said...

Catherine--The link works for me--You just have to wait a bit. You click on the trailer window at the top of the page, then a separate window pops up with two screens for the trailer. When you click on one of the screens to watch, it goes completely black and looks like nothing is happening. It's loading--if you wait about a minute, the trailer will start to play. I thought it curious, too, that there wasn't any French release date.

P.M. Doolan--I hope you can find the film playing close by! Please do come back and let us know how it is. I'm hoping it will eventually make its way to the States, at least on DVD.

P. M. Doolan said...

The film, which has the title "Henry 4"(more trendy than "Henry IV" I guess) is due for release in Europe on March 4th. It is a German-Austrian-French-Spanish production. I have read two reviews in German - one gave it a 1 out of 10 and the other gave it a 3 out of 10. Not very promising... I assume it will be playing in my town (Zurich) in March - I'll give you my opinion then.

Julianne Douglas said...

Ouch!! Thanks for the input from the German media. Perhaps this is an indication of why there's no evidence of a US or even a French sale yet. Anything in particular the reviews complained about?

Anonymous said...

I just watched the movie and found it to be an action heavy history entertainment with quite a number of sex scenes. I enjoyed it.

Julianne Douglas said...

Thanks for the input. Glad to hear you enjoyed it! It looks like it was shown on French TV last week? http://www.cinemovies.fr/fiche_film.php?IDfilm=19923

Gillian said...

I saw this on Tuesday night at the Edinburgh International Film Festival with a short q&a with Jo Baier afterwards.

I really enjoyed the film and will certainly be trying to get a copy on dvd when it's released. It was obviously made with a much smaller budget than La Reine Margot and occasionally it shows (but only occasionally!) and there were a few scenes which looked like they were directly lifted from that film. Overall, though, it stands on its own and is well worth a view. Julien Bosselier was excellent as Henri.

I will be posting a review on my blog soon. Hope you will have a look.

Julianne Douglas said...

Thanks for the great comments on the movie, Gillian! I'll be sure to look for your review. I added your blog to the blogroll in the sidebar. :)

Gillian said...

Thanks very much for that! Will add yours to mine. Review to come shortly. :)

Anonymous said...

Oct 31 2010
hi
have the movie queen margot but am waiting for the movie henri 4 to come to USA soon i hope. It's dumb for UK have all the good movies on region 2 and also have them on region 1 i see the movie henri 4 has an soundtrack already but what about the movie for the rest us too please soon like in next year please? Thanks Elizabeth Osborne
elizagadute@hotmail.com

Julianne Douglas said...

I know how frustrating it is when European movies aren't released over here in our format! There is an Italian movie on Benvenuto Cellini that I'm dying to see, but despite its success in Europe, it was never released here.

Please let me know if you find a US release date for Henri 4 in case I miss it!