Tuesday, December 14, 2010


By D.E.Levine

Director: Jo Baier
Writer: Jo Baier and Cooky Ziesche (screenplay); Heinrich Mann (novel)
Cast: Julien Boisselier, Joachim Krol, Andreas Schmidt, Roger Casamajor, Armelle Deutsch, Chloe Stefani, Sven Pippig, Sandra Huller, Hannelore Hoger, Ulrich Noethen, Devid Striesow, Adam Markiewicz, Gabriela Maria Schmeide, Christine Urspruch, Marta Calvo, Karl Markovics, Andre Mennike, Wotan Wilke Mohring, Antoine Monot Jr et al.
Producer: Regina Ziegler
Executive Producer: Hartmut Kohler
Co-producer: Carl Bergengruen (SWR), Jean Bigot (France 2), Jana Brandt (MDR), Esther Cases et al.
Original Music: Henry Jackman and Hans Zimmer
Running Time: 155 Minutes
Country of Origin: Germany, France, Czech Republic, Spain
Language: German, French, Czech, Spanish, Italian, Latin with English subtitles
Genre: Drama, History

This is a magnificent period piece that traces the rise of Henri of Navarre from a battlefield soldier to the beloved King Henri IV of France.

It's amazing that an epic of this caliber could be made because of the inherent problems.

With an amazing cast of actors who are well known in their own respective countries, each actor spoke his own language without understanding what the other actors were saying to them.

The director had the unenviable job of directing actors who spoke different languages to each other without understanding, and with whom he sometimes had problems directing because he didn't speak their language.

Despite everything, the casting and acting is superb and the actors managed to convey their emotions credibly and believably.

This is a very bloody film, filled with amazing action filled and historically correct battles, and many bawdy sex scenes.

When Catherine de Medici, the French dowager queen summons Henri to court to marry her daughter in late 16Th century France, it's because the Catholics and Protestant Huguenots were at war and Catherine wanted to solidify a peace.

Unfortunately, the Catholics massacre the Protestant wedding guests in what became known as the St. Bartholomew's day massacre.

A now married Henri has to resort to a combination of guile to remain alive and gain the throne. It's quite a feat, especially for a man who started out as a soldier.

The film is absorbing and never falters during the entire 155 minutes which pass all too quickly since viewers are never bored despite having to read subtitles.