1661: Cardinal Mazarin dies. In the power vacuum, the young Louis asserts his intention to govern as well as rule. Mazarin's fiscal advisor, Colbert, warns against Fouquet, the Surintendant... See full summary »
Karen, a young woman from the Baltic countries, marries fisherman Antonio to escape from a prisoners camp. But the life in Antonio's village, Stromboli, threatened by the volcano, is a tough one and Karen cannot get used to it.
A demon bestows on a self-righteous working photographer's camera the power to smite from the Earth "evil-doers". Naturally, the indignant photographer turns his new weapon on, one by one, ... See full summary »
Catherine and Alexander, wealthy and sophisticated, drive to Naples to dispose of a deceased uncle's villa. There's a coolness in their relationship and aspects of Naples add to the strain.... See full summary »
Irene Girard is an ambassador's wife and used to always live in luxury. After the dramatic death of her son, she feels guilty of having neglected him and feels compelled to help people in ... See full summary »
1661: Cardinal Mazarin dies. In the power vacuum, the young Louis asserts his intention to govern as well as rule. Mazarin's fiscal advisor, Colbert, warns against Fouquet, the Surintendant who's been systematically looting the treasury and wants to be prime minister. Fouquet believes Louis will soon tire of exercizing power; he overplays his hand, offering a bribe to Louis's 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 exercising the power of the sun. Written by
A short movie that does an excellent job in conveying the gestalt of one of the most important moments in modern (post-renaissance) French history: the events leading up to the building of Versailles. One understands The Sun King in his context: a man whose hold on his crown -- and his life -- was at first shaky at best. Louis is understood in the context of his greater 'family', in particular the unfortunate Stewarts on the other side of La Manche. Not wanting to be subject to the same fate as his uncle, Charles I (who, for those of you who don't know, was overthrown by his Parliament and nobles, and then beheaded by the fanatically Puritan Oliver Cromwell) Louis conceives of Versailles as essentially a pretty prison for the nobility: by mandating their attendance at court they cannot conspire to overthrow him. Moreover, he establishes absurd rituals of etiquette and ludicrous costumes (the male peruke (wig) was introduced at this time) in order keep them bankrupt attempting to stay on top of court fashions.
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