7.0/10
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7 user 9 critic
This made for television film chronicles the illustrious life of French philosopher René Descartes (1596-1650)

Director:

Roberto Rossellini
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Cast

Credited cast:
Ugo Cardea Ugo Cardea ... René Descartes
Anne Pouchie Anne Pouchie ... Elezac
Claude Berthy Claude Berthy ... Guez de Balzac
Gabriele Banchero Gabriele Banchero ... Servo Bretagne
Charles Borromel Charles Borromel ... Abate Marin Mersenne
Kenneth Belton Kenneth Belton ... Isaak Beeckman
Renato Montalbano Renato Montalbano ... Constantin Huygens
Bruno Corazzari ... Ufficiale olandese
Vernon Dobtcheff ... Astronomo Ciprus
John Stacy John Stacy ... Levasseur d'Etoiles
Joshua Sinclair ... Brandaccio
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Matilde Antonelli Matilde Antonelli
Penny Ashton Penny Ashton
Camillo Autore Camillo Autore
Angelo Bassi Angelo Bassi
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Storyline

This made for television film chronicles the illustrious life of French philosopher René Descartes (1596-1650)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Biography | History

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Italy | France

Language:

Italian

Release Date:

20 February 1974 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Descartes See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(2 parts)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

 
High quality history
16 February 2009 | by Jerry-KurjianSee all my reviews

Extremely good value for folks interested in the history of science, history of rationalism, or mid-renaissance thinkers and culture. Rossellini's very sober Cartesius is a chronicle of Descartes' life and times, following him through Europe as he develops his ideas about science and existence. Rossellini shows us the genius Descartes, but also shows us quietly that he could get things wrong and that he was a product of his times.

The production has some weaknesses as well as some strengths. The music, as another reviewer has mentioned, is odd and over-used. The acting is adequate but never more than that. There is a tableau quality to scenes throughout the film – the people are stiff and come across as conduits of the dialogue rather than actually speaking. There are some real pluses too. During the entirety of one scene in which Descartes is describing his philosophy to a printer, two men work a printing press – one placing the blank pages on the type set that he has daubed with ink, and the other turning the screw a half turn, then back. There are several other scenes that show craftspeople engaged in their work. Finally, I found it refreshing that everyone, French, Dutch, and English, spoke Italian - leaving me to figure out nationality by clothing styles and names.

If Cartesius turns out to be your cup of tea, you may like Potop (The Deluge), directed by Jerzy Hoffman, set in Poland around the time of Descartes (and Gustav Adolph). While a very different approach to filmed history, it is a colourful and interesting story.


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