Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Page to Screen: Marie-Antoinette Alone in the Corridor from Farewell, My Queen

One of my favorite passages from the novel Farewell, My Queen by Chantal Thomas is a short but powerful scene where the reader witnesses Marie Antoinette, Queen of France, wandering alone through the darkened corridors of Versailles. Although the exact scene--which places the Queen near the Hall of Mirrors, unable to enter--was not present in the film, a shortened version did make it through.

The scene in the film is short, a few seconds long, and shows the Queen quietly wandering down a corridor and knocking fruitlessly on the apartments of her courtiers:

And here is the original passage from the novel:

"The Queen had never experienced the dark side of these corridors, salons, and private studies. She had never in her life come up against a closed door. She had never opened a door, for that matter, never touched a door. …. She stood motionless, stiff, facing the impassable threshold of the Hall of Mirrors. There was no longer any guard to announce The Queen. Not a single courtier to react to an announcement. Her presence caused no stir. Everything hung upon the movement she could not bring herself to make."

I personally didn't find the film version as powerful as that of the novel, but I know that translating this scene into film, particularly since we do not hear the reader's narration throughout, would have been difficult. For those who have seen the film, what did you think?

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