The Rise Of Louis Xiv

  • 1966
  • Movie
  • G
  • Biography

This is Roberto Rossellini's sparse, near-documentary look at the young Sun King (Jean-Marie Patte) and at how he codified and choreographed an empire, framing fashions to ensure absolute obedience. No detail of the artful young king's designs and graces--which culminated in the structured elegance of the court at Versailles--is too small to be captured...read more

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This is Roberto Rossellini's sparse, near-documentary look at the young Sun King (Jean-Marie Patte) and at how he codified and choreographed an empire, framing fashions to ensure absolute obedience. No detail of the artful young king's designs and graces--which culminated in the structured

elegance of the court at Versailles--is too small to be captured by the camera, while the big events, the executions and rebellions, are, quite properly, trivialized. What won obeisance for playboy Louis was fashion, carefully crafted for conquest. Rossellini's pans and zooms follow these

strategies of manners and mores intimately: Louis's dying mentor Mazarin (Silvagni) rouges his pallid cheeks prior to his audience with the young king; Louis demands more height to his wigs to enhance his stature and more lace to his jacket to gain attention; the king choreographs the rituals

attendant on funerals, cabinet meetings, banquets. The complexities of Louis's life-structurings consolidate his previously shaky power--all eyes are on the young king, hoping to spot each new nuance, each fad-to-be--and intrigues and plots are forgotten in this atmosphere of utter attendance: the

Sun King is all-powerful. A revival of sorts for Rossellini, this picture would set the standard for its genre, playing as important a part in film history as did his earliest Neo-Realist films. Like PAISAN, its predecessor of 20 years, the film is constructed of episodes, each giving the observer

a chance to bear witness to a reality, a view of history not of battles and bravado, but of guile, manipulation, and role-playing charisma.

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  • Rating: G
  • Review: This is Roberto Rossellini's sparse, near-documentary look at the young Sun King (Jean-Marie Patte) and at how he codified and choreographed an empire, framing fashions to ensure absolute obedience. No detail of the artful young king's designs and graces--… (more)

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