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The Death of Louis XIV
(La mort de Louis XIV)
France, Spain 2016
In French with English subtitles
For audiences aged 7 and above
|Even though his mannered Locarno Golden Leopard Winner The Story of My Death, about the eventual meeting of legendary (and thirsty) figures Casanova and Dracula, clocked in at a butt-numbing 150 minutes, the new feature from the Catalan king of stasis, Albert Serra, proves he's got still more to say about dying - and, specifically, dying very slowly - in the 18th century. The good news is that The Death of Louis XIV (La Mort de Louis XIV) isn't only the ultra-art house director's first feature in which he works with professional actors instead of amateurs, but it's also by far Serra's most accessible work to date. Buyers and programmers familiar with the auteur will of course understand this hardly puts the film, essentially a death-chamber piece, in Avengers territory, though commercial prospects are certainly better than usual.
The film's only exterior sequence comes at the very start, as the 76-year-old Louis XIV (French New Wave legend Jean-Pierre Leaud) surveys his famous gardens at Versailles, which were partially constructed during his 72-year reign. He's in a proto-wheelchair because his leg already hurts and it certainly can't be a coincidence that the monarch's overlooking his estate in the twilight hours before retiring to the palace, a place he'll only leave again a fortnight later, a dead man.
Boyd van Hoeij / The Hollywood Reporter
Director: Albert Serra
Albert Serra (born in 1975) is a Catalonian artist and director. His directing breakthrough came with The Story of My Death (2013) which won the Golden Leopard at Locarno Film Festival. The Death of Louis XIV premiered at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.
|Screenplay: Albert Serra & Thierry Lounas
Cast: Jean-Pierre Léaud, Patrick D'Assumçao, Marc Susini, Irène Silvani, Bernard Belin, Jacques Henric
Production: Thierry Lounas, Albert Serra, Joaquim Sapinho, Claire Bonnefoy / Capricci Production, Rosa Filmes, Andergraun Films, Bobi Lux
Sales: Capricci Films