The Lives We Led: Two Films about Legacies
The Death of Louis XIV (La mort de Louis XIV)
Directed by Albert Serra
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“The most beautiful film at Cannes 2016.” —Jonathan Romney, Sight and Sound
Back from hunting, the aging French monarch, King Louis XIV (magnificently played by French New Wave icon and honorary Palm d’Or recipient Jean-Pierre Léaud) is struck with a debilitating pain in his leg while in Versailles, in August 1715. A serious fever follows as he’s surrounded by a horde of doctors and advisors who sense the end of the 72-year reign—the longest in French history. While the king’s body deteriorates, he struggles to run the country from his bed.
Based on extensive medical records and the memoirs of the Duke of Saint-Simon and other courtiers, this spellbinding film is a neoclassical chamber drama, and work of pure magic by Albert Serra, one of the most singular directors of contemporary cinema. A selection of the Cannes Film Festival. 2016, France, DCP, in French with English subtitles, 115 minutes. Recommended for 13+.