BFI Flare festival – final film

Final film of Flare for me was at 11:40am on Saturday morning – The Girl King.

This is a kind of AU period piece.  Ostensibly it looks like a traditional costume drama but it’s much more of an actor-centric psychologial film focusing on Queen Kristina of Sweden.

Queen from the age of six – with an apparently weirdly eccentric, grieving and possibly insane mother who kept Kristina’s father’s embalmed body in a coffin for nearly 2 years – the film follows Kristina from around age 10 to 28.

King Gustav – before his death – had ordered Kristina be given the education normally only afforded to boys in the 1600s.

So Kristina gew up with love for paintings, books, manuscripts, and sculptures. With her interest in religion, philosophy, mathematics and alchemy, she attracted many scientists to Stockholm, wanting the city to become the “Athens of the North” and to modernize Sweden.

She rejected the sexual role of a woman, often dressed in male attire, caused a scandal when she decided not to marry and – the film posits – may well have been in love with one of her ladies in waiting.

Watching the Kristina of the film run rings round her advisers, generals, assorted politicians and suitors was an absolute joy. And unlike most period pieces this ends remarkably well.

At the age of 28 she abdicated, passing the throne to her cousin and effectively ran away to Rome to convert to catholicism and become a leader of the theatrical and musical life and sheltering many artists, composers, and musicians. She died aged 62 and is one of only 5 women buried in the Vatican grotto.

Pretty rad for a chick in the 1600s!

Brilliantly shot, lush costumes, a towering performance from Malin Buska as Kristina I can recommend it as an entertaining way to pass two hours.

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