Doors open: 8:30 p.m. – Screening starts: 9:00 p.m.
Director: Ernst Lubitsch
Production: Paul Davidson Produktions-AG „Union“ (PAGU) for Ufa
Screenplay: Fred Orbing, Hans Kräly
Cinematography: Theodor Sparkuhl
Cast: Pola Negri, Emil Jannings, Reinhold Schünzel, Harry Liedtke, Eduard von Winterstein
Length: 114 min
Filmed in and around Berlin during the post-revolutionary turmoil of 1918/19, Madame du Barry is about the forerunners of the French Revolution of 1789. One of its pioneers because of her provocative behavior was the Countess du Barry, a mistress of King Louis XV. In a liberal interpretation of her real life, Ernst Lubitsch tells of the rise of the poor, pretty seamstress Jeanne to become the king’s lover and most powerful woman in France until her downfall and death on the scaffold.
When the French press heard about Ernst Lubitsch’s DuBarry movie, it expressed puzzlement that a director from its erstwhile wartime enemy Germany was making a movie set in the “graceful and light era” of the Ancien Régime so soon after the end of the First World War. However, with his historical biopic Lubitsch proved that he had nothing in common with those “sauerkrauts, with small round eyes and heavy bellies” with which his countrymen were associated in France. His elegantly staged parable about the relationship between power and sex was met with praise and admiration not only in Madame du Barry’s homeland, but also in Germany, its country of origin where the movie celebrated its world premiere at the opening of Berlin’s Zoo Palast in September 1919.
Music: A new composition by the Berlin-based silent movie and jazz musician Ekkehard Wölk and his Ensemble Ancien Régime – a blend of classical music from the French Baroque and sublime contemporary jazz.