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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
This film is about a servant of noble values having to prepare an extravagant feast for the King's visit.
Vatel understandably focuses on one single character, Francois Vatel. To me, everything else in the film seems to be subplots or minor characters. Much time is spent on portraying Vatel as a hardworking, bright and noble person. He even knows his subordinates' life history by heart! Vatel's noble virtues contrasts with the corrupted mortals of high social status. The film's dark theme is sometimes overshadowed by the merry atmosphere of the feast. The extravagant sets and amazing costumes are very dazzling. The film is worth the watch just to see the feast scene!
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