Series Mania 2022: from The Crown to the Tudors, Stéphane Bern questions historical truth

The Crown

Do the series on royalty deviate a little too much from historical reality? Stéphane Bern gave a conference on the subject at Séries Mania.

What is the part of fantasy and pure screenplay invention in the series on royalty? Guest of Series Mania, Stéphane Bern tried to answer it yesterday, during a conference at the UGC in Lille, in a full house. ” There’s little right and a lot of wrong, from what I understand “says in the preamble Laurence Herszberg, general director of the festival. ” People bought television to watch the coronation of Queen Elizabeth in 1953 (…) This is the beginning of worldview recalls Bern, for whom the splendor of royal families is at the heart of the fascination they exert on the public. ” The pomp, we need it to believe in it (…) We want them both like us (…) but if they are too much like us, we don’t understand why they have palaces and cars (…) is a projection of our life, they hold up a mirror to us. We find with them the cycle of life: births, deaths… There is a cathartic dimension in that (…) They are part of our life. And the series show that we no longer distinguish between truth and fiction. »

But Stéphane Bern has a priori no problem that series like The Tudors and The Crown authorize themselves to modify the historical reality: We can distort history “, he assures, as long as ” the psychology of the characters is correct. In the series, you need storytelling “. And to take for example this scene of The Crown where Princess Margaret visits President Johnson. “ This whole scene is fiction. Yes, she went to the United States, yes she danced. But she never kissed him. It was perhaps the most boring dinner of his life. The series says that it would have bailed out the debt thanks to all this, but the check was already signed! On the other hand, the scene reflects well the personality of Margaret. I who knew her, yes, indeed, she smoked and drank (Laughs.). »

The essential is therefore safe. ” Margaret was the Brigitte Bardot of the royal family. There were all the ingredients to make the front page of Paris Match, with its joys and misfortunes. Before, it was in the newspapers, and now it’s in the series. »

“Lack of nuance”

Bern also specifies that the English were quick to take the series ” for historical truth. Except the psychology is there, the actors are high quality, but the facts are wrong. You take a tiny event and turn it into an entire episode. There are plenty of examples. I could list all the scenes where you are told anything! »

He mentions in particular the fact that in season 4 of The CrownDiana doesn’t know who to bow to: ” She was raised with the royal children, she knows exactly who to bow to! And then Diana’s binges started because her mother abandoned her, not after her marriage to Charles as we would have us believe. series. But it’s good for storytelling because we’re being told a story. “Remains that the specialist in royalty, who” love The Crown “, blames the authors for having deviated more and more from reality over the seasons: “ For me, they missed season 4 and lacked nuance. »

On The Tudorsafter unveiling an excerpt with Henry VIII (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers) and Anne Boleyn (Natalie Dormer), Bern explains that “ the king is normally obese, excessive in everything », and certainly not the fop seen on the screen. “ Portraits of Henry VIII show a giant! And he surely had psychological problems, you don’t behead two of your wives like that. » Despite the differences in You sleephe easily explains the power of fascination of the series: It’s the kind of dynasty that has all the ingredients: power, money and love. Or sex, we don’t have to put love into it! In the series of course, in life I hope you put some love into it (Laughs.) There are a lot of big, colorful personalities, rivalries, blood, flesh, violence. The wars of religion become the backdrop for the epic of a family. It helps to remember the violence of those times. »

Stéphane Bern takes the opportunity to gently make fun of the Americans, through the description they make in France in the Versailles series: “ Americans have a vision of Versailles! Everyone is dirty! While there are more than enough bathrooms in the castle for everyone. And then we slept all the time, obviously. It’s a horizontal series! »

Before leaving the stage, he let go of having a series project in his ” cartons, but I can’t talk too much about it. Me, it’s Catherine de Medici who interests me a lot. We are working on it. » See you next year for a screening at Series Mania?

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