JEANNE DU BARRY Updates

Discuss the latest Johnny Depp news, his career, past and future projects, and other related issues.
AdeleAgain
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JEANNE DU BARRY Updates

Unread post by AdeleAgain » Sat Apr 27, 2024 4:57 am

Something has changed. A couple of years ago the media would have paid no heed to Maiwenn complaining that the interview gave the wrong impression - now it's being reported in the trade and entertainment outlets. Of course it would be better if the journalists who seem to have an axe to grind would just be fair in the first place, but coverage has definitely improved. This may not be a popular view but I wonder if JD's tie up with the Red Sea Film institute may be helping - they have a powerful PR network. It's about time there was a bit more balance over JD.

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Ingrid 3
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JEANNE DU BARRY Updates

Unread post by Ingrid 3 » Sat Apr 27, 2024 12:40 pm

:cool: That's better! Thank you firefly!
Joel:"That's the movies, Ed. Try reality." Ed:"No thanks." Northern Exposure

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fireflydances
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JEANNE DU BARRY Updates

Unread post by fireflydances » Sat Apr 27, 2024 5:15 pm

For Ingrid.... :flashingheart:
"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed and some few to be chewed and digested." Sir Francis Bacon, Of Studies

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JEANNE DU BARRY Updates

Unread post by In-too-Depp » Mon Apr 29, 2024 3:26 pm



Shocker: Johnny Depp’s Comeback Movie ‘Jeanne du Barry’ Doesn’t Totally Suck

Article by Nick Schager
Daily Beast.com
29th April 2024

Whatever tabloid reputation now precedes him, Depp’s King Louis XV in French film “Jeanne du Barry” proves he’s still one of cinema’s most magnetic presences.

Johnny Depp has made far more headlines than movies during the past five years, thanks to a series of marital, legal, and professional scandals that have considerably dented his A-list stature. Those continue to this day, as the release of Jeanne du Barry has been greeted with a fresh round of reports that the Hollywood icon was a scary figure on the set of writer/director/star Maïwenn’s French period piece. (Maïwenn has since walked back those rumors.) Yet amidst all this external noise, Depp’s “comeback” performance turns out to be infinitely less wild and over-the-top than his tabloid reputation. Embodying King Louis XV with an understatement that’s as wry as it is imposing, the actor proves that he remains one of cinema’s most magnetic presences—even if his latest project doesn’t do terribly much with him.

Following its world premiere at 2023’s Cannes Film Festival, Jeanne du Barry, which hits theaters May 2, is primarily notable for Depp’s participation, even though he’s merely a supporting player in its 18th-century tale. Instead, the true focus is on its title character (Maïwenn), who’s born Jeanne Vaubernier to a cook and a monk. Seemingly consigned to a simple life of obscurity, the young Jeanne enchants an aristocrat but is seen as a threat by this older man’s wife and is thus sent to a convent, where her fondness for racy reading material gets her tossed onto the streets. There, with her poor mother by her side (and working as her de facto agent), she becomes a prostitute of some repute. Jeanne especially catches the eye of Count Guillaume du Barry (Melvil Poupaud), who takes her into his home, where she comes to love his son Adolph (Thibault Bonenfant) and is befriended by the elder Duc de Richelieu (Pascal Greggory).

Much of Jeanne’s early days are recounted in Jeanne du Barry with the aid of dignified narration, regal compositions (emphasis on magisterial master shots), and Stephen Warbeck’s imperial orchestral score, all of which lend the film its reserved, semi-dreamy stateliness. Jeanne’s initial trajectory is the stuff of fairy tales, since after wowing high-society’s men, Jeanne learns that the King (Depp) has an interest in meeting her. This is a boon for everyone involved, including Guillaume, who gladly accepts a pouch full of gold coins as payment for facilitating Jeanne and Louis’s rendezvous at Versailles. The proceedings get a minor jolt from Jeanne’s subsequent session with the ruler’s trusted valet Jean-Benjamin de La Borde (Benjamin Lavernhe), who lays out the specific rules and behaviors required of those entering the monarch’s orbit. Of particularly amusing note is the demand that Jeanne never turns her back on the King; instead, she must take tiny backward steps whenever departing.

Jeanne du Barry is mildly interesting when fixated on the ins and outs of life at Versailles, where all manner of decorous customs and rituals rule. Maïwenn’s Jeanne is both a lowly nobody eager to fit into this environment and an inherently rebellious soul who cares more about pleasing Louis’s heart and libido than his sense of propriety, and they create sparks during their initial encounter together, thereby solidifying their bond. With the Queen nowhere in sight (and, shortly after Jeanne’s arrival, in the grave), Jeanne becomes the King’s cherished partner. While he becomes energized by her naughty flair—be it her violation of a rule that says she can’t look into his eyes during her official court introduction, or a later outing in which she wears men’s clothes—she’s less appreciated by Louis’s daughters, led by Adélaïde (India Hair), who view her as unworthy of their company.

Maïwenn stages her action in one luxurious drawing, dining and bedroom after another, as well as around Versailles’ expansive grounds, and Jeanne du Barry captures the overwhelming opulence of this most elite of enclaves. The costumes are ravishing and the lighting (often by candles) is sumptuous, and yet there’s nonetheless something staid about the film. The clash between formality and passion winds up being rather tepid, as does the story’s investigation of Jeanne’s predicament as a woman repeatedly hemmed in—and ultimately doomed—by circumstance. The director shrewdly goes light on depicting Jeanne as a proto-feminist, just as she spends fleeting time on the racist reaction by Adélaïde and her hangers-on to Jeanne’s young African page Zamor (Djibril Djimo). Still, whereas didacticism is mercifully absent, so too is energized drama; from one episode to the next, the script (co-written by Teddy Lussi-Modeste and Nicolas Livecchi) coasts along as if on rails.

No matter Jeanne and Louis’s amorous connection (and the chemistry shared by Maïwenn and Depp), Jeanne du Barry is too placid to arouse. Tensions escalate once Marie Antoinette (Pauline Pollmann) makes her debut at Versailles to wed the future Louis XVI (Diego Le Fur), but even at this crucial moment in French history, the film is frustratingly tame. Worse, it limps across the finish line, with Louis’s death drawn out to interminable lengths. To the end, Maïwenn compellingly stirs the imagination through fascinating details about this long-gone world, such as the lamp that’s lit on the King’s bedroom balcony to indicate that he’s alive. Unfortunately, those only sporadically compensate for the lethargy that eventually consumes the film just as fatally as smallpox does the sovereign.

What’s left, then, is Depp, who spends the majority of his screen time strutting about in majestic outfits and wigs, and sitting semi-slumped in armchairs alongside his favorite companion. It’s a role that hinges less on dialogue (of which there is little) than on comportment, attitude and intensity, and in those regards, the actor is more than up to the challenge. Whether he’s making funny faces at his beloved while going through his absurdly pampered morning routine, or chiding his daughters and Marie Antoinette for their treatment of Jeanne by simply giving them individual imposing stare-downs, Depp confirms that he’s lost none of the poise and charisma that’s made him a superstar for the past four decades. It’s undoubtedly too small a part to revitalize his frayed name, but in terms of demonstrating that he’s still capable of commanding a big screen, it’s akin to a minor victory.
And Wit, was his vain frivolous pretence
Of pleasing others, at his own expense

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fireflydances
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JEANNE DU BARRY Updates

Unread post by fireflydances » Tue May 07, 2024 4:19 pm

The Wall Street Journal has a review about Jeanne du Barry which might be nice to read. Unfortunately, there is a paywall that requires readers to sign up for a digital subscription ($1/week.) I do not know how long one would have to maintain their subscription. It also seems that the review is really complimentary to JD. My friend Pam, who, although not a member, reads the Zone faithfully, did some research and found several quotes posted by a Depp fan:

"Mr. Deep speaks excellent French and brings considerable easy-going charm to the role. He still has his star qualities, making the King a lovable figure."

"With roles ranging from "Platoon" to "Edward Scissorhands" to "What's Eating Gilbert Grape" to "Wonka" to "Jack Sparrow" to smaller indie films like "Jeanne du Barry," his range is almost immeasurable."

"In each role, he brings a perfectly tuned interpretation of the character -- so much so that when you look back, you can't imagine anyone else playing the role, other then Depp."

So, any WSJ subscribers might want to look into this further. The review is dated May 2, 2024. It is also possible that the article may be available via the local library. It's just so very nice to see good comments about Depp in US publications. (Of course I really didn't like the NYT review.)

If anyone does have digital access to the WSJ, would be nice to see the entire article.
"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed and some few to be chewed and digested." Sir Francis Bacon, Of Studies

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fireflydances
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JEANNE DU BARRY Updates

Unread post by fireflydances » Wed May 08, 2024 12:59 pm

Here is a review from the Observer. The writer is a bit obnoxious early on with regard to his comments about JD, but the review itself is decent.

Maïwenn and Johnny Depp Deliver Decadent Sexual Excess In ‘Jeanne du Barry’
Best of all, Johnny Depp honors the fact that this is not a film about him.
By Rex Reed • 05/06/24 11:47am


There’s so much to look at and think about that it is sometimes difficult to concentrate on the story, but a plot does emerge in the capable hands of actor-writer-director Maïwenn, who keeps the facts straight while chronicling one of the most shocking chapters in French history. Stéphanie Branchu, Why Not Productions
When I first heard about Jeanne du Barry, the sumptuous and extravagant French epic about the infamous, powerful but rarely mentioned final mistress of King Louis XV, with author-actress-writer-producer Maïwenn as the director and—hold on to something for balance—Johnny Depp as the king…the temptation to laugh out loud stretched from here to deadline. But truthfully, to my surprise, he does nothing wrong as the unconventional monarch, and there are even scenes when he emerges subtly poised, understated and dramatically triumphant. Best of all, he honors the fact that this is not a film about him, but about the love and devotion of an impoverished woman with no breeding and no social identity who, for a time, became the most powerful female figure in 18th-century Europe.

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JEANNE DU BARRY ★★★(3.5/4 stars)
Directed by: Maïwenn
Written by: Maïwenn
Starring: Maïwenn, Johnn Depp
Running time: 106 mins.

Madame du Barry has appeared as a character in other films about the French Revolution and was even the subject of a Cole Porter musical at MGM starring Lucille Ball. But what do we really know about her? Maïwenn has spent years hell-bent on unveiling her at last, distilling the obscured facts of her fascinating rise and fall into a lavish period piece in the style of Forever Amber, brimming with sex, romance, political intrigue and historical scandals framed by enough glamorous decors, sumptuous costumes, regal hairstyles and gold-leaf ceilings to take your breath away. There’s so much to look at and think about that it is sometimes difficult to concentrate on the story, but a plot does emerge in the capable hands of Maïwenn, who keeps the facts straight while keeping one of the most shocking chapters in French history alive and kicking.

Born Jeanne Vaubernier, the illegitimate daughter of a monk and a maid, a common low-class nobody in a brutally class-conscious country, she had no education, but learned about ambition early and spent her life determined to climb the 18th-century social ladder and escape her pathetic, underprivileged life the only way she knew how—on her back, in the beds of as many wealthy men possible. Raised by her mother’s lover, Mr. Dumousseaux, who sent her to a convent where she was grilled to avoid the debauchery that is the inevitable fate of disenfranchised girls, she failed the tests of innocence and purity and was expelled. After she left, without any kind of promising future, her mother took her to Paris, where she was hired by a widow with two sons to read aloud from works of great literature, a position that gave her an education in how to use her body and charm to seduce a wealthier, more worldly class of clients, including Count du Barry, whose influence brought her to the attention of Louis XV, a randy monarch with lusty tastes in women.

At first, “His Majesty” Johnny Depp is like a rock star costumed for a Halloween party, replete with high heel shoes, a powdered wig and bright red lipstick. But by the time the king takes a fancy to her and summons her to the royal bed in the palace at Versailles, it’s the courtesan who has grown downright homely in the persona of the director, Maïwenn. She is raw as biscuit dough, replete with an alarming set of distracting buck teeth, but how does a director inform a star she is wrong for the role of an enchanting whore because she’s not as beautiful as the furniture, when the director and the star are the same person?

I’m pleased to report that despite her physical drawbacks, Maïwenn grows on you. Forced into a cash settlement to marry the notorious Count DuBarry, who has become little more than her pimp, the title of “Countess” provides Jeanne at last with enough respectability to move into the palace as the king’s favorite mistress. After the Queen dies, leaving her four daughters to mourn alone while Louis sates himself sexually, one princess leaves home and becomes a nun. In the resulting scandal, Jeanne is despised by the entire court, but there is a limit to how openly his disapproving advisors can admonish a king with a talent for beheading his detractors. So that is how a common harlot became a major player in the French monarchy, carefully coached to carry out the official rules and traditions of the country, learning how to dress like a lady, walking and curtsying like a queen, but slowly scandalizing society by openly riding horses with the king, caressing him publicly, refusing to exit the same room backward in his presence, and accompanying him everywhere arm in arm, wearing pants like a man. She was full of energy and defiance, and Louis, blind to reason, was so charmed and intrigued by her spirited arrogance that he decorated her with diamonds, deeded her a private estate of her own near the castle, and even rewarded her with a servant boy with whom she further scandalized the court by adopting him as her own surrogate son for the rest of her life.

Jeanne’s ultimate defeat occurred when the king died of smallpox, depicted in one the screen’s longest death scenes of all time, replete with Johnny Depp kissing his lover while covered with sores, opening doors for all of her enemies to end their insincere politeness and chase her out of Versailles for good. But the saga didn’t end there. Her decades of excess were judged important factors in the eventual French Revolution. After years in peaceful exile, She was finally befriended by Marie-Antoinette and Louis XVI, but went to the guillotine in 1793 with both of them. The details of palace intrigue and political chicanery that led to the Revolution are sketchy, because Maïwenn’s script dwells more on the decadent sexual excesses of period scandal than the underlying historical forces that changed the world. But in a gorgeous period piece that is never boring, you can’t deny the entertainment value of Madame du Barry, one of the most captivating women since Madame Bovary, and all the more fascinating because she was real.


Footnote: I really do not understand Mr. Reed's comment about Johnny always assuming that a film must be about him? So bizarre. I guess these folks are going to continue to kick him. Shame.
"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed and some few to be chewed and digested." Sir Francis Bacon, Of Studies