12 thoughts on “18th-Century Quest: Beaumarchais l’Insolent

  1. First, I should say that Insolent means insolent, not anything scoundrely (totes a word!).
    And Beaumarchais wasn’t a scoundrel, he was a genius watchmaker who was also a genius writer. He was also someone who was trying to climb the social ladder with no benefit of birth and little help.
    He also had far too big a mouth for his own good.

    Now, about the film: It’s not truly about Beaumarchais, it’s about the actor who plays him, Fabrice Lucchini, who’d gone into public eye in a big way at the time.
    The subject was chosen so all the top actors of the day could be witty at each other in fabbo locations and nice costumes.
    It’s a dude film… Okay, it lacks explosions, but it’s the sort of film we Frenchies do from time to time as a self congratulory pat on the back about ourselves, our history, our great actors… And so forth and so on.
    Extremely irritating.
    And the women, no matter what, are at best arm candy, but mostly just decoration/sex objects in those.
    C’mon, you REALLY don’t think a female should be given the chance of overshadowing some MALE actor, do you? The (male) critics would faint!

    As for another film you should see, may I suggest “Fanfan la tulipe”, the Gerard Philippe version? It’s a classic.
    Otherwise, not a film, but a series: Nicolas le Floch. Nice costumes, VERY nice dialog in classic French (a feast for the ears for me), and also some epic wigs!

    PS: Welcome in France! Hope you enjoy your stay.

    1. “It’s a dude film… Okay, it lacks explosions, but it’s the sort of film we Frenchies do from time to time as a self congratulory pat on the back about ourselves, our history, our great actors…”

      HAHAHAHAHHA! I thot those were only the ones starring Gérard Depardieu — tho’ I suppose those are just the films that make it to the U.S. ;-)

      1. I remember when this movie came out back then. The theatre scenes were shot near where I lived then, in Rochefort in an adorable little theatre that, although built in the 1770s has an interior that’s totally 1860s but was decorated in the 1970s in pale blue velvet to look like the queen’s theatre at Versailles (it’s been recently returned to 1860s appropriate red and gold).

        I look a lot at period set design in films, which gives me another reason to rant, and it’s often about the same as the costuming. That gold chair in the dressing-room picture is full 1900s/1910s rococo revival…

    2. Nicolas le Floch – yes! Beaumarchais is a character in the series. A character I believe is the Chevalier d’Eon appears in the episode set in England, and the Count de Saint Germain appears in a couple of episodes, too. le Floch’s ‘boss’ is a wig freak – he has 15 or more in his office.

    3. I would love to see a costume review of Nicholas le Floch! MHz Networks show it from time to time in the States as part of their International Mystery series.

  2. No, I haven’t seen it as I too haven’t found a copy here in the States. The costumes seem very meh to be technical 😁, but I hope you enjoyed it for its content.

    BTW have fun at Les Arts Decoratifs & Palais Musee Galliera de la Ville de Paris.
    Also a huge LOL to Trystan for the not post on Reign’s ending

    1. GAH!!! I was hoping nobody saw that post — I was trying to schedule it for 2 weeks from now (I’d read it was ending but couldn’t ID the date yet), but WordPress was being dumb.

  3. One should also check out John Corigliano’s opera The Ghosts of Versailles, in which Beaumarchais, Marie Antoinette, Louis XVI, and several of Beaumarchais’ characters from the Figaro plays meet and interact in the afterlife.

  4. I do have the film in my Fabrice Luchini DVD collection. Some of his movies have been released with English subtitles but not all. His acting career has spanned several phases of French film production and is very varied. He is a transcendant theatrical peformer, actor or recitator, who can hold the audience in the palm of his hand. He is the equivalent of a John Gielgud or Olivier in the French language how it should be pronounced and spoken. I had the privilege of attending one of his “shows” based on the poems of Charles Baudelaire partnered by the soprano Sandrine Piau in music and text at the Marseilles opera house. It was sold out. He has released several CDs narrating poetry and French literature.

    My personal favourites are “Intimate Confessions” with Sandrine Bonnaire in which a dull solicitor is brought to life by a chance encounter (she thinks he is a counsellor/therapist) a well explored dramatic conceit which rather implausibly continues to end of the film. It’s intense and enchanting. The other is very similar but more direct and involves a conservative stockbroker gradually being seduced into a higher world of light, fun and love amongst the Spanish migrant girls working in Paris and living in rented accommodation in his building: “The Women on the Sixth Floor”.

    “La Fille de Monaco” was a great success and travelled out of France “The Girl from Monaco” probably due to its combo of sleaze and sexiness making it more commercial to Anglo Saxon film audiences.

    The Petit Palais exhibition of delightful paintings from the Golden Age of the Old Regime in France featuring amongst others (of course!) Watteau and Fragonard continues through the summer.

    Across the river Seine within walking distance a much finer and vibrant exhibition ends shortly on June 25th at the d’Orsay on the subjecf of “The Mystical Landscape” containing a vast array of fabuolous works by the great masters including van Gogh.

    This latter is a once-in-a-lifetime experience – grab a Eurostar ticket and GO!

    Notes on Fabrice Luchini

    Born in Paris in 1951 into an Italian immigrant family, Fabrice Luchini is a famous French stage and film actor. He got his first role at the early age of 18 but later discovered his true passion, theatre, ‘the only place where life is expressed’. Luchini features in many auteur films by directors and his theatre work is no less prolific. The year 2012 is the perfect example of Luchini s multiplicity and huge acting talent : he plays a French literature teacher in François Ozon s new film In the House, he is Julius Caesar in French blockbuster Asterix & Obelix: On Her Majesty’s Service alongside Gérard Depardieu and Catherine Deneuve, and he is reading texts from Philippe Muray at the Antoine Theatre. If a great part of Luchini s reputation comes from his readings of fables of La Fontaine – not only on stage but also as a guest on TV shows – they had never made available yet. Fabrice Luchini partnered with Because Music to release them for the first time : to our greatest pleasure we get to see and hear Luchini s performative power and elocutionary eloquence at their best. This deluxe PAL DVD + CD edition includes a 44-page booklet and offers 15 fables of La Fontaine and 5 poems by Charles Baudelaire. The film was directed by Yves Angelo (Colonel Chabert, Grey Souls…) while the illustrations in the booklet were made by the duo of visual artists Kuntzel+Deygas. The deluxe long box set is cloth-covered, embossed and printed with black ink and gold foil.

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