Jefferson in Paris

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German title Jefferson in Paris
Original title Jefferson in Paris
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 1995
length 139 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
Director James Ivory
script Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
production Ismail Merchant
music Richard Robbins
camera Pierre Lhomme
cut Andrew Marcus ,
Isabel Lorente

Jefferson in Paris is an American drama directed by James Ivory from 1995. The film deals with the five years that the future US President Thomas Jefferson spent as the US Ambassador in Paris.


Thomas Jefferson, the US ambassador to France , sympathizes with the revolutionary movement. At the same time he is made acquainted with the manners and customs of the aristocratic class, with which he is caught between both sides. Jefferson, who has just become a widower, meets Maria Cosway , who is married to a British snob. The two fall in love, but have to keep their relationship a secret.

Jefferson's daughter Patsy, who loves her father dearly, is upset that she should attend a Catholic school convention. Jefferson's younger daughter Polly arrives in Paris with the slave girl Sally . Sally is an attractive young woman who gets Jefferson's attention. Jefferson and Sally become friends. When Jefferson is called back to the United States, Sally becomes pregnant by Jefferson and wants to stay in Paris with her brother, who is also a slave in Jefferson's house. Jefferson wins them over for a return to Virginia by promising them and Sally's future children their freedom. Patsy, who - also in protest against the love affair between her father and Sally - had considered converting to the Catholic denomination, is reminded by Jefferson that in Virginia she is head of his house instead of the deceased mother and is urgently needed there. In this way the conflicts in the Jefferson house are finally resolved, which is in complete contrast to the revolutionary street fights of the looming French Revolution.

In a frame narration, this story is told to a journalist in 1831 by the son who emerged from the relationship between Jefferson and Sally.


Producer Ismail Merchant makes a cameo as a sultan's ambassador. Other small roles were prominently cast. So Vincent Cassel seen as Camille Desmoulins.


"Without tension, excessively long and ambiguous in relation to its protagonist, the film is convincing neither as an entertaining historical film nor as a portrait of a contradicting spirit", judged the lexicon of international film . Prisma said the film was “too superficial” with regard to “heavy weight issues like tradition and progress [...]”. This is "over long stretches in the detailed presentation of an opulent equipment" not without entertainment value, "but develops zero tension and is not convincing as a character portrait despite good actors". For Cinema , on the other hand, the film was an “[e] xquisite excursion into the 18th century”.


The film ran in 1995 in the competition for the Palme d'Or at the Cannes International Film Festival .

The German Film and Media Assessment FBW in Wiesbaden awarded the film the rating particularly valuable.


The German dubbed version was created by Interopa Film GmbH Berlin based on the dialogue book and directed by Jürgen Neu .

role actor Voice actor
Thomas Jefferson Nick Nolte Thomas Danneberg
Maria Cosway Greta Scacchi Evelyn Marron
D'Hancarville Jean-Pierre Aumont Friedrich Schoenfelder
Patsy Jefferson Gwyneth Paltrow Irina von Bentheim
Polly Jefferson Estelle Eoneth Anna Lutteroth
Richard Cosway Simon Callow Lutz Mackensy
Sally Hemmings Thandie Newton Nana Spier
Madison Hemmings James Earl Jones Joachim Nottke
James Hemmings Seth Gilliam Andreas Fröhlich
King Louis XVI Michael Lonsdale Hermann Ebeling
Adrienne de Lafayette Elsa Zylberstein Iris Artajo
Marquis de Lafayette Lambert Wilson Ulrich Matthes

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Jefferson in Paris. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed March 2, 2017 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used 
  2. See
  3. See
  4. ^ Jefferson in Paris. In: German synchronous index , accessed on May 21, 2017 .