Rise of Louis XIV, The (1966)

“Even my seemingly loyal subjects are as much to be feared as the most rebellious.”

Young Louis XIV (Jean-Marie Patte) ensures dominance over France during the first twenty years of his reign.


Response to Peary’s Review:
Originally made for Italian T.V. (then released cinematically), Roberto Rossellini’s neo-realist costume drama is, as Peary notes, “slow-paced”, but provides “unusual viewing pleasure” for those with enough patience to sit through it. Rossellini boldly forgoes pomp and spectacle in favor of intimacy and realistic banter; the result is a quietly absorbing look at daily life and power machinations in Louis’ court. While dramatic encounters and bold musical scores are the stock-in-trade of most historical dramas, Rossellini’s approach shows us what such elements deny us — the chance to eavesdrop on historical figures as they go about their everyday, minute-to-minute lives.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • A meticulous, historically accurate evocation of 18th century France
  • Colorful costumes and sets
  • An intriguing and revealing depiction of Louis’ gradual rise-to-power

Must See?
Yes. Widely regarded as Rossellini’s last true masterpiece, this film merits a look by all film fanatics.



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