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La Reine Margot. Part I: A place calling itself France

Any costume designer needs to take into account certain key elements when tackling a movie; when does it happen? Where does it happen? To whom does it happen?
La Reine Margot is a 1994's movie directed by Patrice Chérau (best known for his work as a theater director) and it's a French adaptation of one of Alexandre Dumas' most iconic novels. The resulting piece is a highly confrontational take on Dumas' story. It's harsh in its imaginary and uncompromising in it's interpretation. And all in all, strangely faithful to its source material; both thematically and in tone.
"Paris est un cimentière"   - Margot-

The costumes for the movie were done by the German-born designer: Moidele Bickel and this movie earned her an Academy Award nomination for Costume Designs. Her work has basically been centered in the European industry, having worked in movies like Germinal (1993, Claude Berri) and Das weisse band (The white ribbon, 2009, Michael Haneke).
But, what make…
Recent posts

Oscars Retrospective 2017: Florence Foster Jenkins

The inspirational biopic is, at this point, a subgenre riddled with cliches, tropes and tired redundancies even when compared to other formulaic cinematic genres. Why? Because it always does the same: it takes a real story, follows it loosely and cajoles it into fitting the standards and usual structure of these types of movies. And, unfortunately, Florence Foster Jenkins falls exactly into that category.
This is a paint by numbers movie. It goes exactly where you think it's going to go after watching the trailer, it brings no surprises, nor any sort of interesting thought and it sits back and relies on the performances of admittedly great actors to keep the boat afloat.
And yes, we can't deny that this is a somewhat competent movie made by a competent director, but it's otherwise completely unremarkable. It's mathematically designed to be a crowd-pleaser and this creates more problems than anything, particularly in regards to the story, as it just doesn't seem to…

Oscars Retrospective 2017: Jackie

The biopic as a cinematic genre goes a long way back. Long enough that certain tropes have started to stick around it.  Because of that, it's perceived by many people as formulaic and simply not-very-interesting cinema. And they are usually right. There are many biopics that are superficial stories that try to pass as inspirational. So, when the highly anticipated biopic of Jacqueline Kennedy released its first trailer, we feared for the worst. Thankfully, Jackie is not your average biopic.
The movie, directed by Chilean director Pablo Larraín, is an insightful look at Jackie's life in the three days immediately following JFK's assassination framed by her famous Life magazine interview. It's a deep and profound analysis of Jackie both as an icon and a woman. An exciting and subtly emotional portrait of a woman in extraordinary circumstances.
Above all, Jackie is a study of loss and legacy. A deep essay on myth making and the strength that images have when moulding nat…

Oscars Retrospective 2017: La La Land

La La Land's nomination for Best Achievement in Costume Design was a weird choice for the Academy, but not for the reason everyone seemed to agree on (mainly that it had no merit because it was contemporary costuming and it consists solely of just shirts and dresses). It was an uncommon choice because, had it won, it would have been the first contemporary film to win Best Costume Design in 22 years (the last one to do so was Priscilla, Queen of the Desert in 1994).
But, truth be told, this is a more than well deserved nomination. La La Land is a felt tribute to Hollywood's Golden Musicals and, as such, works at a purely emotional level; through the music, the acting, the cinematography, the sets and, of course, the costume design, it creates an emotional roller-coaster for the audience.
And it makes sense; La La Land is a love story. It exudes love: for L.A, for music, for cinema... for being in love. True, it's not the most complex and nuanced story out there, but it does…

Gone With the Wind and the birth of Costume Drama

Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn. I could hardly find a more pertinent way to start this review, for that is my general reaction towards historical costuming in the Hollywood Golden age (as I have made amply clear in reviews such as this). But, despite that general rejection towards classical historical Hollywood movies, it's undeniable that without them our modern notion of the Costume Drama would not exist. And that is, particularly, thanks to a "small" movie that you might have heard about...

Ambition, ambition, ambition... that seems like the only way to describe this 1939 "blockbuster" that, to this day (when adjusted for inflation) continues to be the highest grossing movie of all times (see here).
Gone with the wind, clocking its runtime at almost 4 hours, is a landmark of cinema. With a scope and magnitude that overwhelmed audiences, this movie is, to this day, perhaps most notable for bringing us one of the best female characters in movie histo…