Kings and Queen
Autumn 2006 Edge series
Sunday, November 5, 2006 at 4:00pm
Directed by Arnaud Desplechin
Starring Emmanuelle Devos, Mathieu Amalric, Catherine Deneuve, Maurice Garrel, Nathalie Boutefeu, Jean-Paul Roussillon
Rated NR ·
French / English / German
Kings and Queen is the exhilarating new film from Arnaud Desplechin (My Sex Life… or How I Got Into an Argument). Starring two of France’s greatest young actors, Emmanuelle Devos (Read My Lips) and Mathieu Amalric (My Sex Life), Kings and Queen expertly mixes comedy, tragedy and melodrama to tell the emotionally gripping story of the intersecting lives of two former lovers. The film was nominated for seven Césars in France (including Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Actress), where it continues to be a box office hit, and was an audience and critical favorite at the 2004 Venice, Toronto and New York film festivals.
Nora (Emmanuelle Devos) is a 35-year-old art gallery director and single mother struggling to rise above tragic circumstances — a late husband, a failed second marriage and a lover’s suicide — through her successful career and marriage to a wealthy businessman. Ismaël (Mathieu Amalric), her ex-husband, is a disheveled, neurotic musician who descends into a comic nightmare when he is mistakenly committed to a mental hospital. He faces off against the steely clinic psychiatrist (Catherine Deneuve, in a scene-stealing cameo), but his eccentric antics — including an in-house pharmacy raid with his drug-addicted lawyer — earn a ten-day stay that may leave him worse off than when he entered. On discovering that her father is terminally ill and fearing for the future of her young son, Nora tracks down Ismaël at the institution to enlist his help. A series of intimate revelations and reversals further connects these disparate lives, offering several enigmas, as well as a rich examination of love, memory, mental health, and family responsibility.
Director Arnaud Desplechin draws inspiration from mythology, Shakespeare and the grand novels of the past to tell this very modern tale of human relationships. The bold sensibility on display in Kings and Queen — fearlessly traversing between heart-wrenching drama and burlesque hilarity — firmly establishes him as one of the most exciting young directors working in cinema today.