Cohen Media Group is proud to announce the release of MARGUERITE, writer-director Xavier Giannoli’s satirical tragicomedy set in France in the 1920s, starring Catherine Frot (The Dinner Game, Family Resemblances) as Marguerite Dumont, an eccentric and exceedingly wealthy would-be Opera diva.  Nominated for 11 César Awards including Best Film, Best Director and Best Actress, the film was selected for the Venice and Telluride Fim Festivald, and is scheduled to open in New York at The Paris Theater and the Angelika Film Center on Friday, March 11 with a national roll-out to follow.

Not far outside Paris, at the beginning of the Roaring 20s, Marguerite lives in a sumptuous mansion, spending much of her time singing famous opera arias dressed in elaborate theatrical costumes. Marguerite sings whole-heartedly, bearing her soul, but is also terribly, and comically, out of tune. When a young, provocative journalist writes a rave review of her latest private recital, Marguerite’s delusion that she’s a talented diva continues to grow. She finds her intricate fantasy of artistic accomplishment enabled by Madelbos (Denis Mpunga), a butler with his own aesthetic strivings, as well as her audience who encourage her to perform purely for their own amusement. Her long-suffering husband (André Marcon) remains terrified of telling his wife the truth, and her financially needy singing-coach (Michel Fau) spits his self-serving euphemism, “sublimity and the ridiculous are never far apart,” a phrase that distills MARGUERITE’s ironic, anguished wisdom. When she decides to train for her first public recital in front of a crowd of complete strangers, she forces those around her to finally confront the lie they’ve helped create.

MARGUERITE is loosely inspired by the life and singing career of American socialite Florence Foster Jenkins, a child prodigy pianist who became an amateur operatic soprano, known and ridiculed for her lack of rhythm, pitch and tone.  Jenkins restricted her performances to clubs and the Grand Ballroom of New York City hotels including the Waldorf Astoria and Ritz-Carlton.  Her final performance in October of 1944 at Carnegie Hall, sold out in just two hours.  Jenkins died one month later.

Xavier Giannoli won the Palme d’Or for his 1998 short, The Interview, in which Mathieu Amalric played a journalist assigned to interview Ava Gardner. With six features, he has become one of France’s most original writer-directors, often tackling the theme of celebrity, and best known for his César-award winning films In the Beginning, and The Singer, which both screened in competition at the Cannes Film Festival, as well as Superstar.

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