The Death of Louis XIV

The Death of Louis XIV

Albert Serra (2016)

115min
12A Certificate
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Review

Our Score
Presenting the poster boy of the nouvelle vague, Jean-Pierre Léaud, as the ailing Sun King, this is less a re-creation of an historical event than a lament for the passing of traditional forms of cinema. Originally conceived as a Pompidou Centre installation, Albert Serra's grimly droll treatise on human frailty, superstition, Reason and the nature of power centres on a supine Louis XIV (Jean-Pierre Léaud), as his 72-year reign creeps towards its close while his senior doctor, Fagon (Patrick d'Assumçao), tries to reassure the monarch and his fawning courtiers that his condition is not terminal and will not be improved by imbibing the elixir containing frog fat and bull's sperm that has been concocted by Marseilles quack Le Brun (Vicenç Altaió). Working with three digital cameras and limited lighting, Jonathan Ricquebourg exquisitely captures the textures and colours in Sebastian Vogler's opulent sets. But the emphasis is firmly on the corporeal, as Serra dwells upon Léaud's pained expressions and the gangrenous black spots on his leg, as he strives to retain his regal dignity to the bitter end.

Cast & Crew

Louis XIV Jean-Pierre Léaud
Dr Fagon Patrick D'Assumçao
Blouin Marc Susini
Maréchal, surgeon Bernard Belin
Madame de Maintenon Irène Silvagni
Le Brun Vicenc Altaió
Director Albert Serra
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Other Information

Language: French +subtitlesColourTheatrical distributor: New Wave FilmsReleased on: 14 Jul 2017