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Kings & Queen in competitio at the Lido

ROIS ET REINE (Kings & Queen)(France) 150 minutes Venice 61, In Competition
A film by ARNAUD DESPLECHIN
(IN THE COMPANY OF MEN, ESTHER KAHN, COMMENT JE ME SUIS DISPUTE.)
starring Mathieu Amalric (INQUIETUDES, ALICE ET MARTIN, COMMENT JE ME SUIS DISPUTE.)
Emmanuelle Devos (L'ADVERSAIRE, SUR MES LEVRES, ESTHER KAHN)
Catherine Deneuve (8 WOMEN, DANCER IN THE DARK, INDOCHINE)
Valentin Lelong

"I love genre films, and the idea of seeing Nora dive into her memories made me feel that 'Kings & Queen' was a kind of mysterious fairy tale.
When we were writing Nora - a woman surrounded by darkness and loneliness - I was thinking of Hitchcock's frigid 'Marnie', the admirable Sharon Stone in 'Casino' or Gena Rowlands in 'Another Woman'. Three women terrified at the idea of discovering their true selves. As for Ismakl, he was a burlesque movie in his own right.
Roger Bohbot my co-writer and I had a single guideline: be brutal. Out with melancholy or discrete humour!
Be brutally tragic, and brutally comic!
I hope we will shake you up a little."
Arnaud Desplechin.

'Kings & Queen' tells two separate stories. On one hand, the crowning achievement of Nora Cotterelle, young and bereaved, soon to marry a suitable man, at last! On the other hand, the story of the decline and fall of Ismakl Vuillard, one of Nora's former husbands, committed to a psychiatric home by mistake and destined to end his imprisonment in a worse state then when he began.

Their stories intersect for a moment, when Nora visits Ismakl and asks him to adopt her son, Elias. Then diverge again.
We follow Nora as she is forced to deal with the suffering of her sick father, an old writer. Trapped all alone in Grenoble, Nora is besieged. Long-buried memories surface.
Ismakl, convinced of his own tragic destiny, fares pretty well in the hospital, experiencing his downfall and reversals with a strange joy as he passes from one grotesque experience to the next.
At last, Nora and Ismakl meet again for the second and final time. He refuses to adopt Elias, telling the boy that he can do nothing for him, that he has nothing to offer. This confession of impotence will be the best and most honest gift Ismakl can give to the kid.


Two disparate stories, two movies, inextricably linked: raw, comic, melancholy, mournful. Two people: Nora, a woman who dives into memories that threaten to overwhelm her, and who will find relief from all the tragedies she has been through. And Ismakl, a man caught up in a succession of burlesque adventures, imprisoned yet always rushing, unaware, towards freedom.

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