Friday, July 20, 2012

In memoriam: Maria Antonia

For Bastille Day last Saturday I watched a film I had been meaning to watch, well, ever since it came out in 2006: Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette. In this well-made film Kirsten Dunst does a remarkable job playing Marie Antoinette, Queen of France and Navarre. This was a great movie to watch on Bastille Day because I truly believe that the French Revolution was one of the worst debacles ever to befall Europe. This is not to say that the House of Bourbon was not decadent and far too careless about the well-being of their people. As a citizen of the U.S., I have to give Louis XVI credit for supporting the American Revolution, even given his ulterior motives. In my estimation, Marie Antoinette truly is a very sympathetic figure. Apart from Pope Pius XII and perhaps one or two others, I think Maria Antonia Josepha Johanna has been the recipient of one of modern history's rawest deals.

Marie Antoinette at age 13 by Martin van Meytens, 1767- a year before she went to France

One of the coolest features of Coppola's film is the soundtrack, which is largely comprised of 1980s New Wave and post-punk artists. Among these artists are Siouxsie and the Banshees, New Order, The Cure, and Bow Wow Wow. It does also features some lovely baroque pieces of the era, works by Antonio Vivaldi, Jean-Philippe Rameau and Domenico Scarlatti.

Predictably, "Ceremony," by New Order is our Friday traditio with clips from Marie Antoinette

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