At the Cannes Film Festival, Jude Law and Johnny Depp compete for the royal crown



fire brandthe film by Karim Aïnouz which looks back on the reign of Henry VIII and the valiant extra of Catherine Parr, is described by its director as being a “ anthem against patriarchy “. PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA / AFP

After Louis XV by Maïwenn, who did not always convince with his accent, the red carpet received the Tudor dynasty in the person of Henry VIII, the queen game signed Karim Ainouz.

After Johnny Depp’s Louis XV, the Cannes Film Festival rolled out the red carpet on Sunday to Henry VIII of England, embodied by a Jude Law transformed into a jealous and paranoid king. If the “Beloved” of Jeanne du Barry is not unanimous, with some critics pointing out the few sentences uttered by the ex-Pirate of the Caribbean, fire brand (The Queen’s Game ) by Karim Aïnouz, presented in competition, is a fresco which should leave its royal imprint on the Croisette, thanks in particular to the striking performance of Jude Law.

The Tudor dynasty has been an endless source of inspiration for the big and small screen, but very few evoke, like fire brand, the fate of Catherine Parr, the king’s sixth and last wife. As straight out of the paintings of Hans Holbein, the film offers a very beautiful play of lights and colors, with often freeze frames on Jude Law and Alicia Vikander, who lends her features to Catherine Parr.

Anthem against the patriarchy »

Jude Law is almost unrecognizable as Henry VIII who, at the end of his life, had become obese, lame due to a leg infection.

The actor manages, as in a dark fairy tale, to make Henry VIII very real, this Bluebeard who repudiated two of his wives (Catherine of Aragon and Anne of Cleves), beheaded two others (Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard) and lost another in childbirth (Jane Seymour).

I didn’t know anything about the Tudor House but it was Catherine Parr’s character that motivated me because no one had made a film about her. It was always about wives who died and not the one who survived, or about the king, who was a freak “, explains to AFP the Brazilian director Karim Aïnouz.

Jude Law really tried to embody the physique of Henry VIII. He walked for months with weights on his legs… He had back pain after filming so much he imitated the king’s limp “, he says, specifying that the actor has also read about twenty books on the monarch to appropriate the character.

In the film, described by Aïnouz as a ” anthem against patriarchy Henry VIII flew into a rage when Bishop Stephen Gardiner managed to convince him that the Queen actively supported the ” new faith at a time when the Protestant faith was gaining ground in England.

We’ve already been there he keeps repeating, the film skilfully showing how doubts gradually creep into his mind. Everything else in the cast is top notch, including Alicia Vikander as a queen with a reputation for being able to calm the king’s stormy temper.

She was an extremely intelligent woman (…) who survived a tyrant. I can’t imagine what it’s been like for her “, told AFP the actress, known for having played an android in Ex Machina.

She confides that Jude Law’s acting was so impressive that she was marked by the scenes where the king ” prowls around from her or looks at her differently, rather than the violent scenes.

The film details his sympathy for Anne Asqew, a Protestant poetess who will be condemned to the stake for heresy. If there is no historical evidence, fire brand shows the encounters between them and the queen’s very clear adherence to reformist ideas, especially in a scene where we see her praying in English and not in Latin, one of the pillars of Protestantism.

Was it risky for a Brazilian director of Algerian origin to embark on a film on the English monarchy? ” When the Americans make a film about Cleopatra with Elizabeth Taylor, we don’t ask ourselves the question he smiles.

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