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.
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 »
"La Muette" is a normal low-cost housing project like thousands of others in the Paris area. However, these walls obscure the concentration camp of Drancy where almost 80,000 Jews were held until most of them were sent to Auschwitz.
A man's life is retold just after his funeral. Beginning as a track walker, Tom Garner rose through all sorts of railroad jobs to head the company. In the meantime he lost touch with his ... 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
Jean-Marie Patte, an office clerk moonlighting as an amateur actor, had terrible difficulty memorizing his lines, and had to read from cue cards in most of his scenes. Roberto Rossellini believed that Patte's awkward, unrehearsed nervousness mirrored that of Louis as he takes on the responsibilities of kingship. See more »
This film demands some patience on many levels, but the ultimate reward of immersion into a man's mind, into the methods a young, inexperienced king utilizes to immobilize possible enemies is worth the 94 minutes. There are various complaints among viewers that the sets are a little shabby, the performances wooden, the costumes too much--but keep in mind that director Rossellini was hired by French television, given a low budget and 26 days to produce a lavish historical film--the film he managed to create is a minor miracle of direction over almost insurmountable odds, including a non-professional, wooden lead that had to read his lines from cue cards--but looked not unlike the real Louis XIV; its fascinating to watch the young king quietly take in his challenges, and one by one overcome everything from a conniving noble to unsympathetic, domineering mother. The rather stately pace and enclosed spaces take some getting used to at first, but after about forty minutes, one can easily catch the spirit of the times and the cunning of Le Roi. Its a fascinating document on several levels, both from historical viewpoint and as a quality film made on a very low budget.
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