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The Rise to Power of Louis XIV

Posted by martinteller on March 18, 2009

Boy, was I not looking forward to this.  My experiences with Rossellini have been generally underwhelming (in my opinion Rome Open City is one of the least justified “classics” of all time).  And I’d heard this his made-for-TV historical films were extremely dry and mechanical, meant purely to educate, not entertain.  That was not entirely the case with this film.  There are moments of subdued drama, and even a tiny bit of humor.  But it does lean towards the didactic, and as for “mechanical”, look no further than its lead actor, Jean-Marie Patte.  The man seems to be constantly reading from cue cards or concentrating on hitting his marks.  Bresson elicited minimalist performances from non-actors in ways that seemed to hint at hidden depths.  Patte is utterly lacking in depth, almost an automaton.  It’s not all that bothersome, but it does make the proceedings feel like amateur hour.  I can’t say I didn’t get anything out of this film.  It was educational.  It wasn’t even terribly dull.  Nothing special about it, though.  Rating: 6


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