L'Échange des princesses

1721. Desperate to seal peace with Spain, the Regent of France, hatches a plan: to marry Louis XV, 11, and Maria Anna Victoria, the four-year-old Spanish infant. He even goes one further, offering the hand of his 12-year-old daughter to the Prince of Asturias, the 14-year-old heir apparent to the Spanish throne. Everything is arranged. The exchange of the princesses takes place with great pomp on a small island bordering the two countries. Within months however, both heiresses are sent home in disgrace. Unspooling the doomed ‘child swap’ from its absurd inception to its catastrophic conclusion, through the naive eyes of its four infantile (and at times petulant) pawns, Dugain peels away the historic lamina to reveal their truly heart-rending story.

Director: Marc Dugain

Starring: Lambert Wilson, Anamaria Vartolomei

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From France Today magazine