The Death of Louis XIV (2016) Poster

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8/10
Death as it is
duncanbourne-448004 August 2017
This is certainly a film that does what it says on the tin. The sole focus of the film is the death of Louis XIV the Sun King and it is interesting that the sun is notably absent from the film which for the most part resembles a series of Rembrandt paintings in its lush tones surrounded by darkness. This is not an exciting film, in fact it is quite boring in parts. But then that is death, as anyone who has sat watching over an aged relative will know. It is quiet, it is slow, drawn out over hours and days in hushed tones. This is the king of France, one of the most noted kings of France, and here he is fading from life like any ordinary person. Attended and fussed over but unable to stop the enevitable decline or gain much comfort. If I have a quibble it is that the dialoge is often painfully slow and dull in a manner that is, I feel, a bit of a cliché in this type of film. It fits the mood but was, I felt, somewhat overstated.
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10/10
Not a film for everyone, but a perfect film for people who like long, quiet movies
Red-1251 July 2017
The French film La mort de Louis XIV was shown in the U.S. with the translated title The Death of Louis XIV (2016). The movie was co-written and directed by Albert Serra.

The film starts the with the realization that the King Louis is very ill, and ends with his death. Louis XIV was called the "Sun King." The Greek sun god Apollo was immortal. Louis never claimed to be a god, but he certainly acted like one during his extremely long reign from 1642 to 1715. It's not surprising that the people of his court found it hard to believe that he could really be dying.

We watch the king dying during the course of about a week. Director Serra gives us many, many details about his last days. The film was shot with a small cast and only the one interior setting--Louis's chamber, and the room directly outside it.

For artistic and financial reasons, director Serra doesn't attempt to "open up" the movie. There are no scenes that take place outside the palace. No Three Musketeers. No Paris streets with beggars, filth, and noise. It's all quiet interior. The actors are frequently filmed in closeup. In order for a movie like this to work, the actors must be superb.

Two of the three leading actors are: Patrick d'Assumçao, as Fagon, Louis's personal physician, and Marc Susini as Blouin, Louis's chief valet. Both actors are highly experienced professionals and they play their parts very well. Actually, the people they portray are also highly experienced professionals, who are dedicated to serving—and saving—the king.

A movie like this will rise or fall based on the actor who portrays Louis. Jean-Pierre Léaud is perfect for the role. Not only is Léaud a immensely talented actor, but he even looks like portraits of Louis XIV. He was born to play this role, and he will be remembered for playing it for many years to come.

After the movie ended, people had very different thoughts about it. Some said that they were tired of it after the first five minutes. Others said it was too long and/or too dark and/or too quiet. I can see, understand, and respect their point of view.

However, my wife and I found the film profoundly moving and truly fascinating. We happen to enjoy long, quiet movies. We enjoy great acting. We were pleased to watch a great actor starring in a great role, being directed by a masterful filmmaker.

We watched this movie at the wonderful Dryden Theatre at Rochester's George Eastman museum. If you're able to see this film, even on the small screen, I'd suggest you see it. Remember that it's long and slow. Remember that it's a masterpiece.
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7/10
dignified death
asako22 May 2017
I totally agree with the assessment of the first reviewer: it is a beautiful, claustrophobic film with very little "drama". One thing I would like to add is that the film depicts the dying king with great respect and dignity. Having touched by death of elderly family members in recent years, I appreciated the film's compassionate and dignified portrait of Louis XIV and the people who served him closely. There is no political intrigue or ugliness in the film. It quietly and matter-of-factly tells a story. So even though the film's main theme is death, it is not a depressing film and you leave the theater marveling the fine acting of Jean-Pierre Léaud.
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7/10
A technical wonder, but without enough substance
ayoreinf10 July 2016
The biggest wonder of this film is that it had most of its audience sitting all the way through. For almost 2 hours of every minute detail of the last days of Louis the 14th, the greatest king France has ever known. Truth is though we do follow every minute detail we don't really see every thing. In fact what we do see is mostly close ups of the faces of the protagonists (mostly the face of Jean-Pierre Leaud who does a superb work as the dying king betrayed by his body, but keeping his mind sharp to the very last moment), we often only get to hear whats taking place while we keep on seeing these close ups. The result is a very beautiful, claustrophobic film, with very little plot development and very little action. Theatrical in the most cinematographic way - namely it's very theatrical but we always get to see it through the eye of the camera, did I forget to mention loads of close ups. So I did stay focused all the way to the end. And I do appreciate the technical mastery of the director and the cinematographer. And the acting was first class. But there's too little of any other element that could make it into a real masterpiece.
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9/10
more than beautiful
Kirpianuscus17 December 2017
It could be defined as experience. slow, precise, dark, bitter , sad, pictorial with accent on acting and cinematography than on story, it is inspired support for reflection about power and fragility and the efforts to save a life who change the West European history. film of details, atmosphere and small gestures, it is , in high level, usefull. for understand a period. for the accuracy of the end of a legendary reign . for the admirable performance of Jean - Pierre Leaud , who propose a so realistic Louis XIV , like his early brilliant Antoine Doinel. a film for history class. for discover the essence of power. for the basic traits of each reign. for the unique beauty. for dialogues and for the splendid manner to propose a subtle fresco of the end of entire age .
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5/10
The Sun Also Sets
writers_reign16 July 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Stately is the word for this film in which nothing happens all at once. It boasts arguably the greatest number of close-ups in the history of the Cinema and is shot with a touching concern for the light bill of the Producer(s) in muted tones with dialogue seldom rising above a murmur. If you like this sort of thing then this is the sort of thing you'll like. Director Albert Serra is a new name to me but the leading man, Jean-Pierre Leaud is indelibly associated with something called the Nouvelle Vague which is anathema to me and I doubt if I have ever knowingly seen him on screen. Having said that he can't be faulted at lying supine thanks to a gangrenous left leg. Serra definitely establishes a mood albeit downbeat.
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A King's Death
BasicLogic14 November 2017
actually is no different from any common people, no matter how many subjects surrounded His Royal Highness's deathbed. You cursed someone you hated so much with harsh words like: "I wish you die alone and nobody will give a Fxxk!" Well, practically and realistically speaking, everybody indeed die alone; your parents, your wife, your husband, your kids, your friends won't join you and die with you, no matter how they love you or hate you; and these people aforementioned, would also die alone one by one. When a plane or car crashed, a ship sank, a building on fire and collapsed like the twin tower of World Trade Center, an earthquake cracked up the mountain slop and crashing down on a village on the foothill, a whole village wiped out instantly; people died in great number at the same time in a mass death toll, even so everybody still died alone, in group, large or small, but every one of them still died alone. After hundreds of people eating the same food on the hot-cold counter-top in a buffet restaurant, when they take dump at home or elsewhere afterward, the stinking smell would be in some degree almost the same, to some degree, nobody can be separated and distinguished differently, and you cannot claim that yours got some independent unique odor.

Dying is always a lonely process no matter what. And for this film, all you should do is to focus on the cinematography, the lighting, the make- up, the costumes and the score(soundtrack) and the acting of all the participating actors. "Eight Million Ways to Die in L.A." still meant that you are the only person to die there, and die alone.
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