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In 1671, with war brewing with Holland, a penniless prince invites Louis XIV to three days of festivities at a chateau in Chantilly. The prince wants a commission as a general, so the extravagances are to impress the king. In charge of all is the steward, Vatel, a man of honor, talent, and low birth. The prince is craven in his longing for stature: no task is too menial or dishonorable for him to give Vatel. While Vatel tries to sustain dignity, he finds himself attracted to Anne de Montausier, the king's newest mistress. In Vatel, she finds someone who's authentic, living out his principles within the casual cruelties of court politics. Can the two of them escape unscathed? Written by
"Vatel" is a French period film with Depardieu as the title character, a master steward under the crown of King Louis XIV whose job it is to put on feasts and spectacles for the pleasures of royalty. Typical of director Joffe, the film peers deep into the character of Vatel, around whom swirl politicking and wickedness, with such depth and dimension as to make the plot of secondary importance. Replete with sumptuous sets, elegant costuming, and epicurean delights, the film fills the eye and whets the palate as few films can while it paints a portrait of a sensitive and honorable man who makes the supreme sacrifice for dignity.
A superb watch for those into period films painted with delicate brush strokes and subtle nuances.
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