Le Roi Danse * Gérard Corbiau * 2000

After Corbiau’s great “Farinelli” years ago I heard about this film. It did great at filmfestivals around the world and seems to have been ‘touring’ for four years. It even came back in the cinemas for a short while recently, but I didn’t get to see it. Four years after it first came out, it is finally available on (rental) DVD, or did I just miss it for too long? Well then, where “Farinelli” is already a complete bombastic and wonderfully detailed film about classical music in the Renaissance, “Le Roi Danse” tops it. The story is about king Louis XIV who loved to dance (the title means “the king dances”). Louis XIV is of course the ‘sunking’ who had Versailles built. You don’t get to see much of his reign and politics. You get a picture of a king who saw himself as a god on earth and also quite sturdy, being in the game of dance and play. He had the Italian composer Lully and the French playwriter Molière working for him making the newest kinds of music. In the beginning this is something like musical hearplay with ballet, but around the end of the film opera blows over from Italy. Really a great film to watch with stunning stages, great costumes, great playing and a great atmosphere. Also (I expect) historically just and therefor can be put in line with a film like “Elizabeth”, entertaining and docile. Being a film about music in times passed, you may compare it to “Amadeus”; “Le Roi Danse” may be even better. Get to see it if you are into historical / musical films and if you haven’t seen “Farinelli – il castrato” yet, get to see it too!

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