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Posted on 12/21/12 04:06 PM
Wonderful! Simply wonderful story from not so distant history presented the best possible way. A Royal Affair (Danish: En kongelig affære) is a real drama happening at the court of the mentally challenged King Christian VII of Denmark directed by Nikolaj Arcel, starring Mads Mikkelsen, Alicia Vikander and Mikkel Følsgaard. All this was happening in the 18th century, and the real focus of the movie is on the romance between the queen and the royal German physician Struensee.
I heard of the movie competing at the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival but somehow the title never got me intrigued enough to see it. Of course, thanks to my wife, we watched it and I can say I now understand why this film has been selected as the Danish entry for the Best Foreign Language Oscar at the 85th Academy Awards and was also nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film award at the 70th Golden Globe Awards. It is well researched, well presented work of art in co-production among Denmark, Sweden and the Czech Republic.
Nikolaj Arcel and Rasmus Heisterberg started the writing process by reading the 1999 novel The Visit of the Royal Physician by Per Olov Enquist, which is based on the events surrounding Johann Friedrich Struensee's time at the Danish court. The exclusive film rights for the novel were already sold to a company which had been struggling for over a decade to make a large-scale adaptation in English, and did not want to sell the rights to the producer Zentropa. That's why they decided to continue the research and the film was eventually credited as based on Bodil Steensen-Leth's erotic novel Prinsesse af blodet, which tells the story from the perspective of the queen, Caroline Mathilde. I think that this way the story was even more interesting and personal! The film's perspective and characterisation did still remain highly influenced by Enquist's version, in particular in the portrayal of Struensee as an idealistic promoter of freedom of speech. To avoid conflicts about rights, Enquist was contacted to clarify some instances of what he had made up and what was based on documented events, and a person was employed specifically to compare the screenplay and the novel to guarantee that there won't be any copyright issues later on.
If you are in a mood to watch a (long 137 minutes) movie with excellent acting following one of the best scripts about historical events written recently with costumes out of this world - this is something which might interest you.