Venice Film Festival: VICTORIA & ABDUL [VIDEO/REVIEW]
27 Sep, 2017
“Victoria & Abdul” (2017), distributed by BBC Films-Focus Features, is an out-of-competition picture which made its world premiere at the recent 74th Venice Film Festival. The piece is a dramatic, biographical and historical film set in 1887 about the unlikely and charming love story between Queen Victoria of England (Judi Dench) and a young Indian clerk, Abdul Karim (Ali Fatal). Abdul and his good friend travel to England from India to serve the queen. But at a royal dinner when the two meet via intense eye contact and Abdul greeting her with a humble and honorable kiss on her feet, the queen becomes enamored by the young, handsome servant. From then on the romance evolves with the queen making sure that Abdul is treated with the utmost respect by her court. As the story unfolds, she continually promotes him—to the dismay of her family and advisors—and requests that he be at her side at all moments, even private ones.
Watch the Official “Victoria & Adbul” Venice Film Festival 2017 Press Conference:
Dench’s performance is eloquent and impressive as always and Fazal’s character exudes immense charm and sensitivity to the needs of his queen, shining throughout the piece. There is deep and vast beauty in the relationship between the queen and her clerk, one that shatters barriers of age, race and class. In the film’s official press conference, Fazal explains the relationship between Queen Victoria and Fazal that baffled so many: “it could be friendship, it could be love, it was mother and son…so many things.”
On September 3rd, Director Stephen Frears [“Dangerous Liaisons” (1988), “High Fidelity” (2000) “The Queen” (2006), “Philomela” (2013)], whose prestigious career began some 50 years ago, was honored with the Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory To The Filmmaker award at Venice. The special award is dedicated to filmmakers who have made a significant contribution to innovation in contemporary cinema. “Victoria & Abdul” can currently be seen in London and in select theaters.
Press conference video produced by Cindy Maram for Dig In Magazine
Above featured red carpet photo courtesy of la Biennale di Venezia