“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.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Historical Drama
- French Films
- Roberto Rossellini Films
- Royalty and Nobility
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Originally made for Italian T.V. (then released cinematically), Roberto Rossellini’s neo-realist costume drama is, as Peary notes, “slow-paced”, but provides “unusual viewing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
Yes. Widely regarded as Rossellini’s last true masterpiece, this film merits a look by all film fanatics.