Film Comment - 01/01/2009
"The subtlety of the camera movement within this artificial world gives the film its unexpected emotional charge."
Entertainment Weekly - 01/16/2009
"[T]he director's fascination with 17th-century court ritual, captured with detailed old-master beauty, is mesmerizing." -- Grade: B+
His extraordinary reign from 1643 to 1715 brought the French monarchy to its zenith and marks the great classical age of French culture. But who was Louis XIV' Roberto Rossellini directs this historical epic about the nobleman's ascent to power in France after the death of his powerful advisor, Cardinal Mazarin. To achieve this political autonomy, Louis faces off with his mother and the court nobles, all of whom assumed that Mazarin's death would give them more power. While there's the temptation to aggrandize his subject, Rossellini's film brings Louis XIV down to human scale while still producing a majestic, lavish, and meticulously detailed historical work.
Description by Criterion:
Filmmaking legend Roberto Rossellini brings his passion for realism and unerring eye for the everyday to this portrait of the early years of the reign of France's "Sun King," and in the process reinvents the costume drama. The death of chief minister Cardinal Mazarin, the construction of the palace at Versailles, the extravagant meals of the royal court: all are recounted with the same meticulous quotidian detail that Rossellini brought to his contemporary portraits of postwar Italy. The Taking of Power by Louis XIV dares to place a larger-than-life figure at the level of mere mortal.
Made-For-Network TV |
Color by Eastmancolor.
Produced by L'Office de la Radio-Television-Francaise.