La Nuit de Varennes
In honor of Bastille Day our next Rialto Recommends is 1983's LA NUIT DE VARENNES or THAT NIGHT IN VARENNES. It should come as no surprise to anyone watching LA NUIT DE VARENNES that its maker, Ettore Scola, studied law before turning to filmmaking, and became an expert at socially conscious satire and parody. In this instance, Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, fleeing the French Revolution in 1791, confront and debate various historical political and philosophical figures (including Thomas Paine, played by Harvey Keitel!!!) about the nature and causes of the turmoil around them. In a somewhat qualified review Roger Ebert wrote "the film has moments of great charm. Many of them belong to Marcello Mastroianni, in a wonderful performance as Casanova. He has been everywhere and done everything, and as a result is very tired. He is also vain, powdering his nose, adjusting his wig, keeping up appearances. But he is just too satiated by past excesses to take an interest in future ones, and he fends off the women attracted by his reputation." While the Notes on Film blog stated in 2017 "This film is on the New York Times list of Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made." LA NUIT DE VARENNES is streaming exclusively on the Criterion Channel HERE.