The Princess of Montpensier


France, 1562. Against a background of the savage Catholic/Protestant wars, Marie de Mézières (Mélanie Thierry), a beautiful young aristocrat, and the rakish Henri de Guise (Gaspard Ulliel) fall in love, but Marie's father has promised her hand in marriage to the Prince of Montpensier (Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet). When he is called away to battle, her husband leaves her in the care of Count Chabannes (Lambert Wilson), an aging nobleman with a disdain for warfare. As he experiences his own forbidden desire for Marie, Chabannes must also protect her from the dangerously corrupt court dominated by Catherine de Medici. Tavernier translates Madame de Lafayette’s 1622 novella into a bracingly intelligent and moving evocation of the terrible conflict between duty and passion. Though the themes are classic, Tavernier, with the cinematographer Bruno de Keyzer’s vivid landscapes and Philippe Sarde’s pulsing score, makes them feel passionately, urgently contemporary.

EXCLUSIVE: Gaspard Ulliel Talks ‘The Princess of Montpensier’

Most American audiences will recognize Gaspard Ulliel (who has one of the coolest names in the biz, for the record), as the younger Hannibal Lecter in the 2007 prequel Hannibal Rising. However, he is just getting his young career started at the age of 26. He has amassed solid credits with roles in the fantastic period drama Brotherhood of the Wolf, as well as A Very Long Engagement, Paris, je t'aime, and The Vintner's Luck, which hits theaters in America on May 11. Before that, Gaspard Ulliel stars in another compelling period piece, The Princess of Montpensier, which will be released in New York and Los Angeles on April 15. The drama will also be shown on the Sundance Selects VOD platform starting on April 20 before its nationwide expansion on April 29.

Gaspard Ulliel portrays Henri de Guise, a cunning warrior who was likely the first person in history to be dubbed "Scarface." He is in love with Marie de Mezieres (Mélanie Thierry, and although she loves him as well, her father arranges Marie to marry the Prince of Montpensier (Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet). When the Prince is sent off to war, he leaves his new bride with his loyal friend Chabannes (Lambert Wilson). When he returns from war, along with Duc d'Anjou (Raphaël Personnaz), all four men become smitten with Marie and vie for her affections.

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