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 »
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 »
Apply cinema verité to an historical setting and You Are There. Rossellini succeeds in slowing the pace, but rather than making it feel slow, he makes it feel majestic, as it should be in a story about a king. Likewise, he makes the dialog conversational à la Hawks. The locations are authentic, as are the costumes and customs, thus completing the illusion.
In Olivier's Henry V, we see how a one becomes a feudal king; in The Rise of Louis XIV, we see how one becomes a Sun King.
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