DVD Monsieur N. (DVD 33887),
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Monsieur N.

  • NR
  • DVD
  • 1 disc
  • Region 1 USA/CA (info)
  • On a snowy winter's day in Paris in December 1840, a body is returned and exhumed in a large, official ceremony. France's famous former ruler, Napoleon Bonaparte, has died, and these are his remains, supposedly. Antoine de Caunes's MONSIEUR N. offers a fictitious mystery in the retelling of Bonaparte's (Philippe Torreton) final years. What he suggests is that the emperor may have escaped from exile, having faked his own death. In the years between 1816 and 1821, Bonaparte is a captive of the English on the remote island of St. Helena. He spends his days gardening, beekeeping, and writing his memoirs. A small inner circle of his compatriots surrounds him, most notably Cipriani (Bruno Putzulu). This otherwise tranquil existence is colored by the island's fallible characters. The unforgiving governor, Hudson Lowe (Richard E. Grant), is driven to deviant behavior over the rising cost of guarding a single prisoner with thousands of British soldiers. Furthermore, a jealous quibble develops between two ladies who vie for Bonaparte's love--an English woman named Betsy Balcombe (Siobhan Hewlett), and the wife of one of Bonaparte's generals. It seems that many want to curry favor with the former emperor, in order to eventually profit from his death.

    The story is told from the point of view of a young English lieutenant, Basil Heathcote (Jay Rodan), who is assigned to shadow Bonaparte during his exile. MONSIEUR N. employs a CITIZEN KANE-like narrative structure, using Heathcote's interrogations of the island's principal characters to trigger flashbacks to St. Helena 20 years earlier. Featuring breathtaking cinematography while posing an interesting question about history's possibilities, MONSIEUR N. uses the hazy real-life details of Bonaparte's death to suggest some believable conspiracy theories.
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  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): EP0529

  • Credits
    Philippe Torreton, Richard E. Grant, Bruno Putzulu, Jay Rodan, Siobhan Hewlett, Elsa Zylberstein, Frederic Pierrot
  • Critic Reviews
    "Mr. Torreton's glowering emperor, one of the most compelling Napoleons ever imagined for the screen, exerts a magnetic, if slightly repellent spell."
    New York Times

    "[A]n elegant, sophisticated mystery..."
    Los Angeles Times

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