If you're feeling overwhelmed, but still want to squeeze a film into your daily routine, this list is made for…
The Taking of Power by Louis XIV
Cardinal Mazarin dies, leaving a power vacuum in which the young Louis asserts his intention to govern as well as rule. Mazarin's fiscal advisor, Colbert, warns against Fouquet, the Superintendant who has been systematically looting the treasury and wants to be prime minister. Fouquet believes Louis will soon tire of exercizing power and overplays his hand by offering a bribe to Louis' mistress to be his ally. She reports this to the king who arrests Fouquet. Louis and Colbert design a brilliant strategy to keep merchants making money, nobles in debt, the urban poor working and fed, and peasants untaxed. Years later, in a coda, we see Louis exercizing the power of the sun.
- Mr. Fouquet understood that minds are governed more by appearances than by the true nature of things.
A world where the nobility festers in unwashed clothes, sweat and unemptied chamber pots even as a king plots to consolidate power through a prison of vanity. The background for this chapter of Louis XIV ascension from the babying shadows of his advisers and regents was a series of civil wars brought on by a chafing aristocracy. Yet Rossellini, armed with a zoom-lens and unpretentious non-actors, slowly casts the Sun King's devious use of fashion and favors to centralize power as the equal of the most complex military strategy. The nervousness of the office clerk who plays a monarch translates as cool aloofness, and his monotone reading of lines held off-camera for his aid gives Louis' words the power of…
Movie #17 in my Journey Towards Entry-Level Cinephilia
The Rise of Louis XIV is an interesting film. Roberto Rossellini directed it as a TV movie and utilized non-actors. While the story is interesting at times, its limitations can be felt.
As a made for TV movie, this film's budget is one of its biggest limitation. However Rossellini uses this low budget to make one of the most interesting choices of this movies. Rather that building the world of Louis XIV as pristine and new, he makes everything worn and dirty. In an odd way this really humanized Louis as it made him feel human rather than larger than life.
The use of non-actors really added to this film as well.…
"Performance is power." You got to admire how Rossellini stages and structures the rise of Louis transformation into a cosmic figure. At first the images are full of chaos and disorder, people running around, entering and leaving the frame as they please, all while the camera gently and with eternal patience pans/zooms/lingers around. But as the film progresses and everything moves forward, people suddenly become much more fixated in the space they inhabit because they now are in the presence of a god(-like figure). And all culminates in a scene at the end where Louie eats while the collective nobility of France just stands in silence watching him do so, like a theater performance or an opera unfolding. And a the end, when Louie finally has a moment for himself, he peels away this myth he created, bears himself for us, because at the end of the day even the Sun-King is only a man. Fascinating.
Rossellini's constant re-framing, through the use of zoom, continually grounds Louis' transformation in the present. It's as if each composition is adjusting to keep pace with this redirected creation. We begin in a wide shot because the claims of the material almost demand it, but Rossellini rejects these claims. Instead he defies convention and sheds the false identity of this presupposed image just as Louis sheds the identity everyone has created for him. It provides immediacy and visual angst, parallel to Louis' own perturbed behavior.
This also very slyly captures the self-absorption and supreme ignorance of the monarchy when faced with the working class. Noblemen stumble about the kitchen, while Louis and his servants remain detached from the massive palace…
Interesting idea but does not fully work. Too much like stage and TV and not enough cinema.
Great Historical piece about the "Sun King"
No idea if the central thesis is true, but either way, you couldn't have written a more effective parody.
Roberto Rossellini has given us an austere spectacle of power. Many in the New York Film Festival audience were disappointed by the lack of lushness. Logic and rigor are not the most appealing graces, but there are beautiful passages of unbearable precision in the playing. I particularly like Jean-Marie Patte's Louis XIV for his relentless imperturbability, particularly in the scene where he throws himself with mock repentance into his mother's arms and then quickly and impassively withdraws from the embrace and escapes from the possible emotional trap. It is a moment of gleaming intelligence. For the rest, Rossellini is content to remain relatively impersonal. Unfortunately, an impersonal film requires more objective scope in its spectacle. I would have preferred more Rossellini or more Versailles. I get too little of either. Too little only by the highest standards. Rossellini's was the one film at the New York Film Festival with a clear claim to greatness.
(Village Voice, October 12, 1967)
Εξαιρετικά ενδιαφέρον ιστορικά, παρότι πολύ στεγνό και ακαδημαϊκό για το βίο και την πολιτεία του Βασιλιά Ήλιου. Δίνεται έμφαση στο ότι η αλαζονεία και ο αέρας υπεροχής του Λουδοβίκου και της αυλής του ήταν μια συνειδητή πολιτική επιλογή στο πλαίσιο της συγκεντρωτισμού που ήθελε να επιβάλει. Πολύ επιτυχημένη η τελευταία σκηνή, όπου ο βασιλιάς αποσύρεται στο δωμάτιό του, αφαιρεί τα φανταχτερά του ρούχα και το μεγαλείο του, και στοχάζεται πάνω στο νόημα της ζωής του, διαβάζοντας φράσεις από ένα βιβλίο.
Being one of Rossellini's earlier History Films, this still retains the slightest hints of something more conventionally "cinematic" than subsequent installments, not that Rossellini was ever much of a visual stylist to begin with (I get the impression that he actively disliked visual style, which of course puts us at odds right from the get go).
As Eric Rohmer famously said (according to Francois Truffaut), that "Rossellini's genius lay in his lack of imagination", this extends to the formal aspects of his filmmaking as well. Apart from his use of a customly-designed remote-controlled zoom, there's really nothing cinematically impressive or special about what he does here.
There is, however, something fascinating about the performance of non-actor Jean-Marie Patte in the…
it feels abridged
The court costume of the modern capitalist or other half-baked sentence constructions.
A film about vanity, faux-humility, and lavish royalty, shot and performed by everything but. Rossellini has made a striking masterpiece that dares to make cinema analogous to 17th century French aristocracy.
"Mr. Fouquet understood that minds are governed more by appearances than by the true nature of things."
"Neither the sun nor death can be gazed upon fixedly."
And I said Welles' Macbeth reeked. This was my first Rossellini - I'm excited to get to this, that, and everything else.
This Rossellini historical drama feels more like a staged play than a melodrama for television, yet exists as a tv movie because of Rossellini’s belief that ‘cinema is dead’. Detailing the rise of King Louis XIV after the death of Cardinal Mazarin, there is a distinct feel of realism from all aspects of the production. The camera moves as an invisible observer rather than a omniscient god, and the utilization of zooms lends power to certain situations while still maintaining a fixed realism. With the camera shooting the scene from one perspective, there are some unnoticed long takes that manage to make the stiff actors charismatic in a special way. While the content of the film is incredibly dense, there is something magical about the way that the scenes unfold that gives the impression that the movie is a historical document of the time, rather than a narrative.
High-rated movies with very few views. Suggestions are welcome.
UPDATED: September 11, 2016
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