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Le Roi Danse 2000
Description: Louis XIV, the French sun-king has two passions, establishing absolute rule over the realm -after decades of religious/civil wars- by divine right and artistic brilliancy as a dancer
Released: 06 Dec 2000 Director: Gérard Corbiau Writers: Ève de Castro (scenario, adaptation and dialogue), Andrée Corbiau (scenario, adaptation and dialogue), Gérard Corbiau (scenario, adaptation and dialogue), Didier Decoin (participation), Philippe Beaussant (book) Actors: Benoît Magimel, Boris Terral, Tchéky Karyo, Colette Emmanuelle Genres: Drama, History, Music
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Le Roi Danse Reviews:

What a relief to see a movie about the 17th century that does not detail Gerard Depardieu! Unbelievable fashion detailing and territories help a serious history lesson on how melody and theater were key to the success of Louis XIV. One of the greatest exemplars of how young boys measure themselves by their physical abilities, the movie provides a special timeline for the long reign of Louis. He grows from an unsure kid into a confident (well, yes, arrogant) boy -- and partly this is accomplished through his passionate involvement in melody and dance. Think of the foolish Emperor in "Amadeus," saying Mozart there are "too many notes," and then see this depiction of a lord who now understands and appreciates music. Yes, of course, peasants were mistreated and millions starved, but we don't see that part of 17th century France. That is other story, other film. This one is stunningly beautiful; like nice art, some of these photos may never fade from your mind's eye.


le roi danse feels like a french response to the perfect movie "amadeus." a pretty costume movie with sumptuous scenes of dance and song, it takes its liberties with historical accuracy. we never receive too deep into the characters louis xiv, lully or moliere, but with tips of obsessions (homosexual or otherwise) here and there, we understand them all well enough. if you're looking for something entertaining this movie will undoubtedly please, though it won't create you think too hard. many of the reactions viewers have are probably quite visceral -- though the movie talks about the loftiness of dance, it deals with the most primary of human motivations and feelings, of jealousy, lust, desire, horror even. there are a several wince-worthy moments (not for the squeamish), two specifically seem to book-end the film. they're not explicit, just painful, so the squeamish could be okay once these moments pass. le roi danse is not a terribly deep movie, but there's enough there to feel compelled by the characters, thus this is still compelling and astoundingly beautiful. on top of the nice visuals and direction, perfect acting by magimel, terral and karyo all.


Having just seen this movie I was impressed and intrigued enough to wish to comment on it.The topics is quite unusual-the life,rise and court of the popular French lord Louis the fourteenth,the popular "sun king" as seen by his court musician,the not least popular Lully. The style,imagery,artistic means of this movie reminded me of other much talked about movie which also deals with a composer,Forman's Amadeus-in both movies we see certain taste for the dramatic, even overtly theatrical,for haunting and often violent scenes,for the grotesque and almost disturbing. However I prefer a more disturbing,uncomfortable view of history than the typical Hollywood style of idealizing historical characters whether if now good,bad or just complex(a mixture of nice and bad,like most historical characters and most folks really are). The movie is historically somewhat biased,mainly for two reasons: 1.though an necessary part of Louis's reign,Lully's melody wasn't the most necessary affair of state,yet in this movie it is depicted as if it were the only reason of existence for France,the king,s family,his court 2.Lully and Moliere weren't the only artists to contribute to the glamor,luxury,power,glory,cultural achievements and distinctive style everytime linked with the sun-king's reign-there were also architects like Le Brun,Le Vau,Le Notre,tragedy-play writes like Corneille and Racine,literary critics like Boileau,carpenters like Boulle and many other,among whom even the tens of thousands of laborers,who died or became ill while turning,with immense efforts and during decades of relentless work,the inhospitable marshes of Versailles into Europe's most popular and glamorous royal residence... The sun-king is depicted in an awkward,somewhat strange way:the immense opulence of his lifestyle is known,however I everytime pictured him much more formal and reserved,almost arrogant,distant in his majestic dignity,exhaling a spartan sobriety and god-like greatness out of each pore. Without being a parody or caricature of the true Louis,I often got quite the opposite of what I expected-he seems to me vulnerable,lonely,often unloved and misunderstood,unbalanced,craving for appreciation and success(historically,these attitudes can be partly explained by the fact that Louis was at the beginning of his reign,before he gradually became an absolute ruler). And Louis dances...Russel's The Devils seems to anticipate this film,as we see that also Louis the thirteenth,none else than the sun king's father is also depicted as a music-lover,an innate artist rather than a monarch(remember Russel's creation and how the French lord from that movie was depicted wearing almost the same elaborate costumes and performing almost the same histrionic,yet fascinating dance movements),however Russel's intention was to detract French monarchy as decadent,capitalizing on the homophobic reactions the king's slightly effeminate clothing and gesture might cause,especially to the more conservative viewer. A certain homo-erotic message is undoubtedly present,however not in order to deconstruct the myth of the sun-king,it is often hinted how difficult it is for Lully,who anxiously tried to closet his bisexual desires and fit into the heterosexual mainstream,to hold his secret love for the lord hidden well,even if strictly heterosexual in his personal life it is a historical fact that Louis the fourteenth is known to have been an extremely good-looking boy and therefore likely to attract admirers of both genders-I think the actor testing Louis is a nice choice as he both resembles the historical hero and is handsome enough to justify Lully's crush,however a profssional dancer would have also depicted truthfully Louis the showman rather than the politician(or a politician trough his on-stage extravaganza,as an expression of power and a manipulatuive technique),this very side of the king's personality would have been the ideal part,even more than for Magimel or Tarding for brilliant real-life performers Nurejew or Baryshnikow.Another historical hero with whom the sun lord might be compared is the Emperor Nero-he too build an impressive,megalomaniac palace as symbol of his absolute,almost divine power(Versailles being a baroque ver of the legendary Domus Aurea-The House of Gold),both being fascinated of overindulgent self-marketing by comparing themselves to particularly grand and lavish imagery like the sun,the sun-god,gold and the golden age,both of them being known not only as protectors of art but also as performance-Nero scandalized the virtuous Romans with his acting and his often effeminate costumes and parts,just like young Louis shocked the Catholic circle gathered around his aging and strict mother and some exaggeratedly pious and narrow-minded aristocrats,which rather than understanding the beauty of art played the strict moralists(though often immoral themselves). In the end,as we also know from history,the sun-king succeeds to fulfill his dreams of magnificence,however at a high cost,among the ones who payed the price being eventually the court composer himself:Lully got injured while stubbornly insisting to conduct a Te Deum which his monarch didn't even honor with his presence,this injury getting infected and causing Lully's death(this is historical fact,Lully really died this way),the entire movie being,like in Amadeus,a deathbed confession recalling the most necessary moments in the composer's life. Even if Lully's death appears as accidental,useless and stupid,it gave his life the ultimate meaning and apotheosis-by refusing to agree the amputation of the wounded body-part he ultimately sacrificed his life to his sovereign,being the excellent subject,faithful to his master till the end,giving both his work and his love for the lord a noble and uplifting conclusion,defying&defeating all the rumors and irony spread by his many rivals.



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