This banquet, unlike one of foodstuffs, can be savored again and again to discover its parts. A political tale, a moral tale, an aesthetic breadth that rewards repeated viewing. The casual brutality of the palace: children playing darts against a painting; nobles and servants tossing around a dead rat; and, of course, the walking latrine! As above, so below: brutish soldiers, "shanghai-ers" for the colonies, provincial nobles who live in squalid houses barely above hovels. Noiret, Rochefort, Marielle so perfectly embody their characters; wise yet inconstant Orleans, conscienceless striver Dubois, impetuous, foolish yet gentlemanly Pontcallac. It would be rewarding to view this en suite with Etore Scola's brilliant "La Nuit de Varennes" to bracket the themes.
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