Yukinojo, a Kabuki actor, seeks revenge by destroying the three men who caused the deaths of his parents. Also involved are the daughter of one of Yukinojo's targets, two master thieves, and a swordsman who himself is out to kill Yukinojo.
A young orphan is sent to the village of Moonfleet, in Dorset, England to stay with his mother's former lover, who has the facade of a gentleman but is a leader of a gang of swashbuckling bootleggers. The duo went on a treasure hunt.
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 »
Lethargic minimalist film about Louis XIV's rise to power in the mid 17th Century. I suppose if I had a greater interest in the time period or historical characters, I wouldn't have been bored. Case in point, several months ago I saw another of Rossellini's biopics from the same period, Socrates (1970), and, as I am a classics scholar, I liked it very much. I know a lot about Socrates, but almost nothing about Louis XIV. Both are similar in style (although Louis has much less dialogue). I guess Rossellini's point was to subtract the usual pomp and circumstance that surrounds the European royalty of this historical period, depicting everything in a very realistic light. I think I can make at least two legitimate criticisms against this film: 1) I think it takes too long with the first act, the Cardinal's death. It takes more than a half an hour of a 100 minute film (actually, the Hen's Tooth video falls about 9 minutes short of that mark). We learn nothing much about what is actually going on during this half hour. 2) Jean-Marie Patte, who plays Louis XIV, seemed particularly passionless to me. I did like some parts, or at least I found them interesting. At one point, Louis designs his now-famous costume. He tells his subordinates that all nobles will be dressed in exactly the same way. In the following scene, they are. I also liked the meal scene, where we, as well as everyone else in his court, watch as patiently as possible as Louis eats course after course. The nobles in the court feign interest. What weird customs we humans have developed. I wouldn't suggest The Rise of Louis XIV unless you are interested in the period, or are a huge fan of Rossellini. 6/10.
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