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Henry IV (1984) - Plot Summary Poster

(1984)

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Summaries

  • Deranged after a fall from a horse, a man has lived for twenty years in a castle laboring under the delusion that he is Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV. His psychiatrist concocts an elaborate scheme to shock him out of his medieval reverie.

  • The story begins at a medieval dressing party. A man, dressed as the King Enrico IV, falls from his horse and hits his head. This causes him serious lesions and gets insane, believing he is really the King

  • As befits a movie about acting, Bellocchio's "free adaptation" of Pirandello's 1921 play brings together two great stars of the Italian cinema: Marcello Mastroianni, as a scholar who has lived for 20 years under the trauma-induced delusion that he is the 11th-century Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV, and Claudia Cardinale, as the aristocratic woman he loved before his accident. Role-playing abounds as Henry's psychiatrist concocts an elaborate scheme to shock him out of his medieval reverie: he'll be forced to confront both his lady love as she is in the present, and as she was in the romantic past, as embodied by her look-alike daughter.


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