Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Le Roi Danse (movie)

 

Corbiau repeats the Farinelli formula, artistic rivalry and social private drama expressed in dazzling, sometimes excessively lavish baroque scenery, music and costume, but this time in its ultimate setting: Versailles. There are two protagonists - first the title character, Louis XIV, the French sun-king who has two passions, establishing absolute rule over the realm -after decades of religious/civil wars- by divine right and artistic brilliancy as a dancer (like Nero wrote and performed musical poetry), and starts asserting himself against the entourage of his Medici mother, the regent during his minority, by building his palace complex and launching a 'fitting' new, mainly musical display of baroque show. Secondly the musical genius Gianbattista Lulli ('Jean-Baptiste') Lully, a Florentine upstart of unbridled ambition, quickly gains the king's absolute trust, despite the nationalist and aristocratic opposition to a low-born Italian, and thus turns the normally socially humble post of court composer into a 'ministerial portfolio of culture' of Cabinet rank, complete with a monopoly which kills of his artistic rivals in operatic theater. The script also weaves a complex web of court scheming for individual power and social interests, and even a sadistic but accidental murder on a young valet, producing a sensuous and sumptuous drama too complex for this format, ending in a freakish but fatal accident. Written by KGF Vissers

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