The Serpent Queen: the history of France in junk mode (review)

The Serpent Queen: the history of France in junk mode (review)

The Serpent Queen: the history of France in junk mode (review)

The rise of Caterina de ‘Medici to the court of Francesco I, and alongside her husband Henry II, told over a fun and rock n’ roll melody, in an American series that borders on everything.

Crowned heads have the coast right now, on television. Of course, while we mourn the passing of Elizabeth II, everyone thinks about it The crown on Netflix. But on StarzPlay in France, there is also the life of his ancestor in the series Becoming Elizabeth (with Alicia von Rittberg), or that of Empress Catherine II of Russia (Elle Fanning) in The great. Today it is added to the list of Caterina de ‘Medici (1519-1589), with The Serpent Queenwhich tells of the horrors of the court of Francesco I, in the mid-sixteenth century.

In 1560 Catherine is at the height of her power, Regent of the kingdom of France, feared by all, she will confide in her very young servant and tell her about his life. That of an Italian orphan, who grew up in the midst of a revolution against the order established by the Medici in Florence. Nephew of Pope Clement, he will find a way out by marrying the second son of the King of France, Henry II. She humiliated as soon as she gets there, she will soon understand that her future husband is already in love with her lover, Diane de Poitiers …

The tone is decidedly modern. The atmosphere is trashy and rock’n’roll. The Serpent Queen it is hardly encumbered by historical rigor and declines this regal biographical film with a relaxation that sometimes borders on nonsense.

A more inspired series Soprano by Max Gallo, by the very admission of his star Samantha Morton : “We wanted to get closer to his story as in The Godfather with that of Don Corleone. Think rather of The Sopranos“, The actress confides to EW, before quoting Lots of fleasas another reference: “Phoebe Waller-Bridge breaks the fourth wall so brilliantly. It is not new. But this is the first time I tell while talking to the camera … ” Yes, Caterina de ‘Medici speaks to us directly, and it is a bit destabilizing, to transform the figure of the Renaissance into a contemporary heroine imbued with a somewhat anachronistic feminism.

Strange, but totally obvious. The Serpent Queen puts a lot in shape. Starting with the extraordinary images of the real sets in which the series was shot. The castles of Chambord and Chenonceau provide a lavish backdrop for the political treachery of the viper tongue, particularly adept at survival. The creator of the series, Justin Haythe, did not go out of his way to transform the historical character into an imitation of Cersei of Westeros, transferred to the court of François Ier. But his series has the merit of going to the end of his concept, to lead to a really enjoyable drama.

The Serpent Queen

With a tone of sure fun, Haythe faces the end of the House of Valois without getting annoyed with decorum and without being offended by our French sensibilities: everyone speaks English at the court of a François Ier played by an Irishman (Colm Meaney), where our good Kingdom is exactly compared to “a rat hole“…

But it must be admitted that this Catherine there has the high verb. Samantha Morton takes her most sinister look out from walking Dead and little Liv Hill bursts onto the screen as a young Italian princess, forced to make her way through this political-social crisis. From machinations to manipulations, from tragic deaths to murderous maneuvers, the history of France sometimes resembles game of Thrones and it’s pretty cool. Although the huge religious posts of the time (resulting in Saint-Barthélémy, let’s face it) are curiously barely touched.

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