The Lady and the Duke | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

The Lady and the Duke


Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe


My favorite Eric Rohmer features are mainly his period films--Percival, then The Marquise of O (despite its emotional toning down of the Heinrich von Kleist novella), and now this fascinating antirevolutionary take on the French Revolution. Inspired by the memoirs of Scottish royalist Grace Elliott (beautifully played by Lucy Russell), it centers on her relationship with Philippe Egalite, erstwhile duke of Orleans (Jean-Claude Dreyfus), who brought her to France in 1786. Their romance had ended well before the revolution (and before this picture begins), but they remained close friends in spite of their growing political differences. Percival was shot on studio sets, The Marquise of O on location; for the exteriors of this film, Rohmer uses digital-video technology to superimpose the actors against painted landscapes, and the results are charming as well as historically plausible. Influenced by the use of stationary camera setups in D.W. Griffith's Orphans of the Storm, this is absorbing throughout--not just a history lesson but, as always with Rohmer, a story about individuals (2001, 129 min.). Music Box, Friday through Thursday, June 7 through 13.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  →