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A ROYAL AFFAIR (2012) Danish historical movie


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The film is based on a true story about the princess Caroline Matilda of Great Britain (the stunning Alicia Vikander) who is sent to Dennmark to her bethrothed in 1767, the mentally ill King Christian VII (an Oscar-worthy performance by Mikkel Følsgaard). The young and naive Caroline is full of romantic ideals which are cut ubruptly short -  her husband is a madman who likes bedding richard simmons rather than his own wife with whom he sleeps only to fulfil his duty. To say that they first night together was ghastly and uncomfortable at best would be an understatement of the century, after Christian gets her quickly pregnant he ignores her completely. If that was not enough, her favourite books by French and German englightened writers are seized by court as inappropriate because while the rest of Europe is slowly being influenced by the ideas of Englightement Dennmark is still firmly set in the Middle Ages. However, everything changes with the arrival of Johann Struensee (hot and charismatic Mads Mikkelsen), the new personal physicians of the king. Struensee who is a secret supporter of the Reformation quickly wins the king's trust - they fence, play theatre, sweep out the whorehouses together, ... - holds his madness in check and gradually gains an immense influence over him.

Here is a little sneak peek :-) :
Source: http://vesperlynds.tumblr.com/post/43508598464/we-thought-we-could-have-it-all-we-were-naive

You can find a more detailed post here: http://cecilialambiel.livejournal.com/1365.html
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briseis said: Trust me, you won't be disappointed  :D . Though, it's based on a true story so you should prepare yourself a box of Kleenex just like in the old Faith days when the last episode aired  ;;)

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You bet it won't  =((  But it's still worth the tears.
By the way, do you plan to watch Blind, too? There is a HEA, even though a little subtle? The European filmmakers don't like the obvious happy ends like the Americans do.

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briseis said: You bet it won't  =((  But it's still worth the tears.
By the way, do you plan to watch Blind, too? There is a HEA, even though a little subtle? The European filmmakers don't like the obvious happy ends like the Americans do.

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Movie review: 'A Royal Affair' places ideals over passion

With a backdrop of 18th century Denmark, an unorthodox relationship triangle forms around an oblivious King Christian VII, but it's driven by an ardor more philosophical than carnal.

November 08, 2012|By Kenneth Turan, Los
Angeles Times Film Critic

"A Royal Affair" is not as racy as it sounds. This highly polished costume drama is exceptionally well-made and a model of intelligent restraint, but it is also unapologetically earnest and a bit on the bloodless side.

For though the illicit physical passion implied by the title is definitely part of the story, this Danish film (the country's best foreign-language Oscar entry) is more about a transgressive couple's zeal for freedom and political reform, which while noble and involving, is not exactly barn-burner material.

As co-written by Rasmus Heisterberg and Nikolaj Arcel and directed by Arcel, "Affair" sticks fairly close to the historical record as it stars the protean Mads Mikkelsen as a German physician who ends up the power behind the throne at a critical moment in 18th century Danish history.

Before we meet the good doctor, however, we are introduced to Caroline Mathilda (Alicia Vikander), a British noblewoman (the sister of King George III, in fact) who was married to Denmark's King Christian VII (Mikkel Boe Følsgaard) in 1766.

Though Caroline was hoping for a storybook romance, this was far from the case. From her first sighting of her future husband, glimpsed hiding behind a tree and shown to be more involved with his enormous dog than any human being, it is clear that the king is more deranged than regal.

Already upset because many of the books in her library have been shipped home by a rigid royal censor, Caroline is aghast at the thought that marriage to this man will be all that her life has to offer. She needn't have worried.

For on one of his numerous trips abroad, the king makes the acquaintance of Johann Friedrich Struensee (Mikkelsen), an idealistic German country doctor who soon finds himself maneuvered into the position of being the king's personal physician.

The disturbed royal takes a shine to Struensee because the dour-looking doctor acts more like the king's wingman than his physician. The fact that Struensee is in fact a devoted man of the Enlightenment who believes in personal freedom and good government is something no one thinks the ruler needs to know.

Caroline at first views this new member of the court as yet another obstacle between her and her husband, but they soon bond not over physical attraction but a mutual passion for Jean Jacques Rousseau and his thoughts on equality.

Mikkelsen, one of Scandinavia's top actors, is compelling as Struensee, and Vikander, soon to be seen as Kitty in Joe Wright's version of "Anna Karenina," is equally good, but all this interest in the rights of man is, while admirable, not a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.

Making the story more complicated is the fact that Struensee, who remains close to the oblivious king even while sleeping with his wife, gets the idea of having the monarch be his frontman and pushing forward much-needed reforms.

Christian VII is reluctant to do this, but Struensee capitalizes on the king's love for theater and tells him that he should just think of it as playing the part of a reforming monarch. It works beautifully, but only for a time.

Unfortunately for Struensee, he, like many zealots, even those for good causes, loses track of the real world in his passion to remake Denmark as an Enlightenment stronghold. Though it is clear that he is overreaching, the doctor sees it not, which makes the story's inevitable conclusion a sad cautionary tale.

Though he is not the film's biggest name, the most interesting work in "A Royal Affair" comes from Følsgaard as the king. Under his undeniable madness, Christian VII turns out to be an intriguing character, a sweet and naive soul who wants to do the right thing but doesn't know how. It's a thoroughly unexpected performance and one that reminds us of how lonely being out of your mind can be.



'A Royal Affair'

MPAA rating: Not rated

Running time: 2 hours, 18 minutes

Playing: At Landmark, West Los Angeles; Sundance Sunset Cinema, West Hollywood; University Town Center, Irvine

source: http://articles.latimes.com/2012/nov/08/entertainment/la-et-mn-royal-affair-20121109


Denmark's 'A Royal Affair' beats bushes for talent

February 07, 2013|By Hugh Hart

Danish democracy's astonishing origin story has all the makings of a world-class political soap opera. Rife with madness, adultery, decapitations and gorgeous costumes, the Oscar-nominated "A Royal Affair" revisits the saga of a liberal doctor who tried to launch a revolution from the inside out after infiltrating the court of crazy King Christian VII and his beautiful Queen Caroline in the 1760s.

Despite the juicy source material, nobody had made a movie out of Denmark's nation-defining melodrama until writer-director Arcel Nikolaj Arcel came along. Why'd it take so long? Arcel says, "Our main problem is that in Denmark we don't have a big history with period films, and whenever we do try to make them, they tend to be very stuffy and self-important. Investors worried that I would repeat that."

On the contrary, Arcel kept the pomp and pageantry to a minimum. Working within the constraints of a $7-million budget, he notes, "there was a ceiling to the amount of things we could do with this money. My only dogma was: I don't care about the historical trappings. The costumes have to be beautiful and correct, but the only thing I care about is the characters."

To do justice to the characters at the heart of the story, Arcel obsessed over his casting, starting with Mads Mikkelsen. The Danish movie star immediately signed on to play royal physician Johann Friedrich Struensee after reading the "Royal Affair" script. Dr. Struensee, an enlightened man brought in to act as adviser to the mad king, works from inside the royal circle to steer a backward country toward a more progressive modernity. He also finds a kindred spirit in Queen Caroline and, as every Danish schoolchild knows, fathered her second child. The role required a performer of considerable gravitas, Arcel says. "If Mads hadn't said yes," he says, he doesn't know what he would have done. "It's almost like having Daniel Day-Lewis play Lincoln. You have to have the exact right actor."

Arcel had a much harder time locating a believable Caroline. "I auditioned almost every Danish actress in the country but couldn't find anybody from Denmark to play the queen. They were pretty good actresses, but the way they carried themselves, the way they spoke — it was too 'street.' There's a certain modern way of acting in Danish film and television that didn't work for 'A Royal Affair.'"

Enter Swedish actress Alicia Vikander. Though she did not speak Danish, Vikander came across on her videotaped audition with one essential quality lacking in other performers. "There was something regal about Alicia," Arcel says. "Queen Caroline was born of blue blood. She'd been raised to become a princess. It turns out Alicia had been a ballet dancer before she turned to acting, so she had a way a gliding across the floor, almost floating. Not that she's a diva. She was a little bit of a princess."

"Royal Affair's" most volatile character, the king, who historians believe was probably bipolar, also proved difficult to cast. After Denmark's pool of established talent came up wanting, Arcel and his team looked at drama schools. There they discovered Mikkel Boe Følsgaard, a second-year student who'd never performed professionally in film or on stage. "Mikkel had a raw, primal quality," says Arcel. "He was willing to go out on a limb and try anything."

Modern Denmark lacks the ancient streets and castles needed to portray the period accurately, so Arcel filmed "A Royal Affair" in the Czech Republic, drawing on computer-generated imagery to flesh out crowd scenes and build out castle vistas. But for all its 18th century ambience, "A Royal Affair" challenges its characters to tackle issues that continue to bedevil 21st century citizens. Arcel notes: "This film depicts the Age of Enlightenment coming across Europe where you've got conservatives and liberals, you've got science versus religion discussion, you've got the age-old poor-versus-rich discussions. We're having those same debates in Europe and America right now. Let's be honest: We're still a little bit in need of an Age of Enlightenment."


source: http://articles.latimes.com/2013/feb/07/entertainment/la-et-en-denmark-royal-affair-20130207

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A Royal Affair: Berlin Film Review

3:30 PM PST 2/16/2012 by David Rooney


Berlinale Film Festival
Mads Mikkelsen and Alicia Vikander
The Bottom Line

Admirers of classy costume drama and European history enthusiasts will eat up this well-crafted Danish production.

Mads Mikkelsen, Alicia Vikander, Mikkel Boe Foelsgaard

Nikolaj Arcel

Rasmus Heisterberg, Nikolaj Arcel
Mads Mikkelsen and rising Swedish star Alicia Vikander play the romantically entwined royal physician and the Queen of Denmark, who orchestrate radical social reforms in Nikolaj Arcel's engrossing historical drama.

BERLIN – A gripping chapter of European history is recounted with elegance, intelligence and clarity in Danish director Nikolaj Arcel’s sumptuous costume drama, A Royal Affair, which examines the clash between liberal idealism and reactionary self-interest in a meaty tale of romance, tragedy and court intrigue. Conventional in style and structure without being too starchy, the intimately focused epic has been presold to most major territories, including to Magnolia in the U.S.

Arcel and regular screenwriting partner Rasmus Heisterberg have whittled down a wide tract of events and ideas into an accessible and surprisingly brisk 2¼ hours. (In addition to Arcel’s films, King’s Game, Island of Lost Souls and Truth About Men, the pair collaborated on the first and best of the original-language Stieg Larsson adaptations, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.) This is a fascinating story that is no doubt widely known in Denmark but will be new and suspenseful to all but the most scholarly history eggheads.

The film is driven by riveting performances from Mads Mikkelsen, best known internationally as the villain Le Chiffre in Daniel Craig’s Bond debut, Casino Royale; and lovely rising Swedish star Alicia Vikander, next up in Joe Wright’s Tom Stoppard-scripted Anna Karenina.

It opens near the close of the 18th century as reforms are sweeping Europe, with intellectuals and free-thinkers wrestling control away from the nobility. Something rotten still endures in the state of Denmark, where the King’s council continues to favor the wealthy estate owners while ignoring the appalling conditions of the poor.

Raised in England, Caroline Mathilde (Vikander) is packed off to Denmark while still in her teens and married to her imbecile cousin King Christian VII (Mikkel Boe Foelsgaard).

Prancing around snickering like Beavis and Butthead, the psychologically unstable monarch is so threatened by Caroline’s intellectual and artistic superiority that, with a gentle nudge from the scheming dowager queen Juliane Marie (Trine Dyrholm), he mocks and humiliates his young wife. But she does her royal duty nonetheless, delivering him a son, who later became King Frederick VI. Her confessional letter to her children, written in exile before her death, frames the action in voiceover.

Once Caroline has produced an heir, she slams shut the bedroom door, prompting bored Christian to go traveling around Europe. The German Johann Friedrich Struensee (Mikkelsen) is hired as his personal physician. A progressive adherent to the then-radical principles of the Enlightenment, Johann gains the King’s trust, quickly learning how to humor him, to defuse his moods and irrational whims. When they return to Denmark, Johann finds a like-minded ally in the Queen and a clandestine romance begins.

Christian is infantilized by the King’s council, which requires his signature on legislation but discourages any attempt to understand the laws being passed. Conspiring with Caroline, Johann invents a game for the theatrically inclined King, giving him a script for council meetings in order to push through reforms that chip away at societal injustice. Emboldened by his more active role in the proceedings, Christian demands that Johann be admitted to the council. And when the rigid old guard blocks that move, he dismisses them, making himself and the doctor Denmark’s sole legislators.

All this is related with lucidity and speed. There’s a real exhilaration to the transitional period as reforms are passed, providing inoculation against disease in public hospitals, freedom of speech and expression, and the abolishment of censorship, torture and corporal punishment.

While the characters might appear black and white, they all have their ambiguities, particularly Johann, who uses Christian’s blind trust and love for him to further his own political agenda, albeit one for the greater good. The romantic triangle is sharply drawn, with Christian seeming to re-evaluate himself as he becomes part of the power structure and not just its frivolous figurehead.

To some extent, Johann starts adopting the methods of the council he so despised, shouting “Just sign it” in response to the King’s questions. Eventually, he removes the need for Christian’s signature on documents, giving himself total jurisdiction over state affairs. But this earns him dangerous enemies among the aristocracy, whose income has diminished and taxes have increased to provide services for the poor. Rumors that Caroline’s second child was fathered by Johann feed the unrest.

As Caroline observes in her letter, such frantic change would inevitably provoke a backlash, and the film becomes slightly more burdened by the density of its plotting as it moves toward the eventual downfall and betrayal of Johann and the Queen.

That said, the story remains enthralling right up to its moving final act, which illustrates the regression of Denmark but at the same time points the way again to a better future. Without getting too deep into political ideology, the movie makes succinct points about the path to progress in Northern Europe being inextricably linked to the separation of religion and nobility from government.

Performances from the large ensemble are solid, but the three leads in particular are compelling, each of them playing richly conflicted characters. Vikander is intense and incandescent, and Mikkelsen’s sober demeanor lightens around her, his face visibly softening. The feelings of genuine tenderness toward Christian from Johann and even Caroline are beautifully sketched. Foelsgaard slyly keeps the audience guessing about the extent to which Christian is aware he’s being manipulated and accepts it as part of the pact of their friendship. There's unexpected poignancy in his characterization.

The strength of the script is its focus on events not as historical chronicle but as the direct experience of these three complicated central characters.

In the movie’s early scenes it’s clear that Arcel is aiming for a subtly contemporary edge in the performances and shooting style, and the film could have benefited from a more forceful push in that direction. But Rasmus Videnaek’s cinematography strikes a fine balance between stateliness and agility. The handsome production design and costumes by Niels Sejer and Manon Rasmussen, respectively, are major assets, as is the full-bodied score by Gabriel Yared and Cyrille Aufort. Executive produced by Lars von Trier through his Zentropa company, Arcel’s film in no way reinvents the historical drama, but it honors a fine tradition in European film.

Venue: Berlin International Film Festival (Competition)

Production companies: Zentropa Entertainments

Cast: Mads Mikkelsen, Alicia Vikander, Mikkel Boe Foelsgaard, Trine Dyrholm, David Dencik, Bent Mejding, Cyron Melville, Harriet Walter

Director: Nikolaj Arcel

Screenwriters: Rasmus Heisterberg, Nikolaj Arcel

Producers: Louise Vesth, Sisse Graum Jorgensen, Meta Louise Foldager

Executive producers: Lars von Trier, Peter Aalbaek Jensen, Peter Garde

Director of photography: Rasmus Videbaek

Production designer: Niels Sejer

Music: Gabriel Yared, Cyrille Aufort

Costume designers: Manon Rasmussen

Editors: Mikkel E.G. Nielsen, Kasper Leick

Sales: TrustNordisk

No rating, 137 minutes

source: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/movie/a-royal-affair-denmark/review/291978

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Characters in the film - Johann Friedrich Struensee:

source: http://www.aceshowbiz.com

source: www.news-de-stars.com

credits: imaswellkid.blogspot.com

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Characters in the film - Christian VII:

source: filme.metropotam.ro

The Queen - Caroline Mathilda
source: http://www.aceshowbiz.com

source: blogs.tageswoche.ch

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Movie review: 'A Royal Affair' aspires to be period pieceBy Brandy McDonnell | Published: February 1, 2013
It may be a steamy and sumptuous bodice-ripper, but “A Royal Affair” aspires to much more and succeeds in becoming a thoughtful and universal period piece.

This film image released by Magnolia Pictures shows Mads Mikkelsen, left, and Alicia Vikander in a scene from "A Royal Affair." The film was nominated for an Academy Award for best foreign picture on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013. The 85th Academy Awards will air live on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013 on ABC. (AP Photo/Magnolia Pictures) ORG XMIT: NYET464
An Academy Award nominee for best foreign language film, the 18th-century costume drama plays at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art as part of its annual Oscar Tune Up.
Denmark's official Academy Award entry, “A Royal Affair” begins in England, where teen Princess Caroline Mathilde (Alicia Vikander) believes her dream of becoming queen of an exotic land is coming true when she is wed to Danish King Christian VII (Mikkel Boe Folsgaard) without meeting him.
She's heard her husband is charming and a fellow art lover, but when she actually arrives in Denmark, the new bride discovers he's also given to mood swings, inappropriate outbursts and bouts of depression. Some of his behavior is pure royal petulance, but Christian exhibits telltale signs of mental illness, too. And since he's king, no one does much to intervene.
In fact, the powerful royal council prefers that Christian leave the governing to them, and since he'd rather debauch himself with alcohol and prostitutes, he easily obliges. The state of Denmark is definitely rotten: The people's suffering is immense, and even Caroline Mathilde can't escape the strict censorship laws, as half her beloved book collection is confiscated.
The young queen is not equipped to deal with her husband's erratic behavior, so once she's done her duty of producing an heir, she locks herself away in the palace and resigns herself to a life in a gilded cage.
When Christian falls ill while touring Altona, a Danish colony in Germany, a pair of down-on-their-luck noblemen (Cyron Bjorn Melville and Thomas W. Gabrielsson) approach local doctor Johann Struensee (Mads Mikkelsen) and propose that he apply for the position as the king's personal physician. If Struensee gets the job and helps them resume their roles in the royal court, they won't reveal the doctor's secret identity as a student of the burgeoning Enlightenment and the anonymous author of several verboten pamphlets advocating for sweeping reform.
In his interview, Struensee and Christian bond over their affection for Shakespeare, and the doctor quickly becomes not just the king's physician but also his father figure and constant companion.
When they arrive back in Denmark, the queen doesn't initially trust the doctor, despite his knack for redirecting the king's worst impulses. Once she discovers his secret collection of Enlightenment literature, though, Struensee and Caroline Mathilde bond over their mutual devotion to free thinking and high ideals.
The physician becomes confidante to both royals. In one of the film's most affecting scenes, he sits holding hands with the couple after inoculating their young son from smallpox. It's a poignant foreshadowing of how complicated their love triangle would become.
As their relationship moves from avid talks and long walks to passionate secret trysts, though, Struensee and Caroline Mathilde provide their political enemies — especially the king's scheming stepmother (Trine Dyrholm) and a power-hungry priest (David Dencik) — with ample means and opportunity to counter their idealistic crusade.
A framing device of the exiled queen penning a heartrending letter to her far-off children makes some of the outcomes clear, but the period drama remains gripping to the end, which is not as grim as it might have been. Sensitive performances from the three principles keep it captivating.
Thanks to top-notch work from cinematographer Rasmus Videbæk, production designer Niels Sejer and costumer Manon Rasmussen, “A Royal Affair” is gorgeous to watch.
— Brandy McDonnell
source: http://newsok.com/movie-review-a-royal-affair-aspires-to-be-period-piece/article/3750607

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