Queen of the Desert Trailer

Since the last foray into historical drama by Nicole Kidman resulted in the continuously delayed and forgotten Grace of Monaco, maybe teaming up with the eccentric Werner Herzog for his narrative Queen of the Desert might yield better results.

The first trailer for the Berlin Film Festival selection has just arrived, showcasing the story of cartographer Gertrude Bell, an explorer who negotiated with Arab nations and helped establish the countries of Iraq and Jordan. The film follows around ten years of Bell’s life, focusing mostly on how her career was impacted by various romances over the years with suitors played by Robert Pattinson, James Franco and Damian Lewis. Watch the Queen of the Desert trailer after the jump!

Here’s the international Queen of the Desert trailer (via The Film Stage):

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Judging from the trailer, this seems like a much more conventional story than we’re used to seeing from a director like Werner Herzog. That seems somewhat disappointing since this is the first time Herzog has turned his lens on a leading female character. It simply feels like your typical period romance, complete with some extravagant wardrobe design and majestic cinematography.

The film played at the Berlin Film Festival, and IndieWire wasn’t too kind about the film saying:

Choosing to make a film about such an astonishing, rule-disregarding, inspirational woman and concentrate on her relationships with fellas (“I’m just a woman who misses her man,” she sighs)  is questionable enough as it is – but if Herzog had managed to properly dramatize those relationships, he might have conceivably gotten away with it, rather than ending up with this exercise in syrupy, (sometimes cringe-inducing) banality.

Ouch. Sounds like this one might be a misfire for Herzog, who not only directed the film, but also wrote the script. It’s a shame since Gertrude Bell has largely been regarded as the female Lawrence of Arabia, and this film doesn’t seem to be worthy of her story. Here’s the poster for the film as well:

Queen of the Desert

Queen of the Desert tells the story of Gertrude Bell (1868-1926) who, as historian, novelist and member of the British secret service, played a decisive role around 1920 in setting the course for the new political order in the Middle East. As an educated young woman, for whom no suitable husband can be found in England, she journeys to Tehran. After a tragic love affair with diplomat and inveterate gambler Henry Cadogan, she decides to give up on her private life and discover the region as an explorer. Before the backdrop of the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire she learns languages, translates literature, meets with Muslim dignitaries in Cairo, Basra and Baghdad and earns their trust through her pluck and respect. Predestined to be a mediator between the Orient and the British Empire, she contributes to defining the new borders in the region after the First World War. And then love enters her life once again.

Atlas Distribution Co. releases Queen of the Desert sometime in late September.

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