As for how this production looks:
This mini-series is absolutely gorgeous. The director captures the essence of 1960s French Riviera without over-glamorizing, which is a good thing, because it is not necessary. The outdoor scenes (especially the horseback ones) are stunning. Costumes are very accurate and well thought out, especially for the female leads. LeeLee Sobieski looks alternately frumpy and seductive, just as most 18 year olds do in real life; showing a girl still figuring out how to present herself to the world. Deneuve's high society duds are probably the most spectacular, as they should be. Her character is draped in vivid reds and evocative jewelry. Kinski's clothes are virginal and chunky for the most part, as befits the wife of an ambassador...and yet her passionate exoticism cannot be held in check, and wins over repression in the end.
The storyline is the one we know well. I won't belabor telling it again. The mini-series was supposedly shot in both french and english language, but I did not find this to be true. I saw the english version. Some scenes were definitely shot in english, but others were simply dubbed...and it shows, which is too bad. If you rent or buy the DVD, I would advise watching it in french with english subtitles (if you can't speak french). Most, if not all, of Kinski and Everett's scenes in the english version were shot in english, while Deneuve and Everett's were mostly dubbed. In fact, there were only a few moments in the entire thing where Deneuve's lines were in english. For me, this created distance between her character and me as a viewer. Of course, her character is viciously evil and not one you would normally identify with, but villains CAN be empathetic. I did not find that here. Rupert Everett is slick and Machiavellian, with a slight vulnerability that is just right. LeeLee Sobieski is much more believable in this role than Uma Thurman was in the 1988 version. Nastassja Kinski, as Marie Tourvel, is the standout here. She does a marvelous job of representing the character arc (virginal wife to repentant adultress) that is required. Kinski wrote the book on portraying these kinds of heartbreaking roles (Tess, Magic of Marciano, American Rhapsody, The Claim...) and it is a shame she has been largely overlooked by Hollywood.
I highly recommend this mini-series, but watch the DVD in french with english subtitles, in order to get a better grasp of Deneuve.
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