In 1767, the British Princess Caroline is betrothed to the mad King Christian VII of Denmark, but her life with the erratic monarch in the oppressive country becomes an isolating misery. However, Christian soon gains a fast companion with the German Dr. Johann Struensee, a quietly idealistic man of the Enlightenment. As the only one who can influence the King, Struensee is able to begin sweeping enlightened reforms of Denmark through Christian even as Caroline falls for the doctor. However, their secret affair proves a tragic mistake that their conservative enemies use to their advantage in a conflict that threatens to claim more than just the lovers as their victims.Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The film's director, Nikolaj Arcel, made a Director's Statement for the picture. It reads: "A ROYAL AFFAIR is based on one of the most dramatic events in Denmark and indeed European history; whenever I used to pitch the film to foreign investors, people had a hard time believing that the story was true, that these momentous events had actually happened in the late 1700's. In Denmark however, it is taught in school, more than 15 books have been written about it (both factual and fictional) and there has even been an opera and a ballet. I feel honored and extremely lucky to finally bring the full story to the screen. Tonally, I was inspired by the great epics from the 40's and 50's where films would often feel like literary works, structured around characters and the passage of time, and not clearly following the obvious screenplay roadmaps. But my creative team and I were also fired up by the idea of bringing the Scandinavian historical drama into the new century. We wanted to achieve this by adhering to a self-imposed rule; we didn't want to "show" history, didn't want to dwell pointlessly on the big official events, the fancy dresses and hairdos, or the way the food was served. Rather, we wanted people to simply experience the story through the eyes of the characters, taking the 1760's for granted. Even though the period is obviously there in the set designs, the costumes it was filmed and edited as we would have filmed and edited a film taking place in modern Copenhagen. Finally, Gabriel Yared and Cyrille Auforts' beautiful score has brought the film full circle, and home to its epic roots.". See more »
The film's opening captions include the phrase "Europe at the close of the 18th century" and also "England, 1766." These two statements are mutually exclusive. 1766 was not the "close" of the century, it was just barely short of two-thirds of the way through it. See more »
[writing a letter]
I'm trying to remember him. Johann. I have to tell you about him. About us. Why we did the things we did.
My beloved children, you do not know me, but I am your mother. Perhaps you have never forgiven me. Perhaps you hate me. I hope not. I now know that I will never see you again, so I am writing to tell you the truth, before it's too late.
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Not a trivial costume drama... Well directed and played
Within the last decades, Denmark has become the leading film country around the Baltic Sea, several films have been praised in major festivals around the globe. En kongelig affære is a pleasant supplement to the succession. Based on real events and persons, the film focuses on broader issues than a simple love between 2 powerful persons. Despite some not-so-good characteristic features of the doctor Struensee, his appearance in the Danish royal and executive circles changed the country thoroughly. And today, Denmark is one of the most progressive countries in the whole world.
The cast is evenly strong - not the leading roles only, but supporting performances as well. Mads Mikkelsen is great as usual, irrespective of the role, but the biggest surprise to me was Mikkel Følsgaard (as Christian VII) - I had never heard about him before; as he managed to win the Silver Bear for Best Actor at the Berlin Film Festival, I am sure he will be used often both in Denmark and internationally.
Well, the total length could have been less, 2 hour 15 minutes included some protracted scenes. Nevertheless, the film is recommended to all those fond of historical palace dramas.
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