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My appreciation of Le Roi Danse (2000)

Hello guys,I would muse about a film which I really liked. It could be your typical classics like Lawrence of Arabia,or something which I feel it was underrated to many. Today i would be writing about my ode to Gerrad Coberiau’s Le Roi Danse (2000)

The glory of King Louis XIV through the eyes of his composer Jean-Baptiste Lully,it sounds familiar to Milos Forman’s 1984 classic Amadeus which told the life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart through the eyes on Salleri,his rival. Both films do have the same formula that makes it work-absoutley beautiful cinematography,gorgeous Production Design and a story told through the eyes of a person. However I can tell you why it makes itself so different from Amadeus.

With the translation of the title-Le Roi Danse,it means The King is Dancing. Basically this film shows a lot of dancing,why there is dance involved in the film. In a literal sense that King Louis the 14th was a trained ballet dancer until a freak accident that he twisted one of his legs. Lully was a former dancer too. However in a metaphorical sense,we are slowly building up to the rise of King Louis XIV and his eventual detachment to Lully’s suffering when he struck his toe during his Te Deum. On the other-hand Lully was trying to rise to the top to the point he betrayed Moliere,it was his ‘dance’ to make the king dance again. Everything in this film is like a dance,whenever you see Louis XIV as Apollo (Interestingly that is where he earned his nickname from) dancing infront of his family or the rhythmic editing of the painting process of the portrait of King Louis XIV. It was slowly rising up to the point that The sun King become confident.Alright the story was not that fully fleshed out as Corbieau intended according to some reviews,I beg to differ because it actually work that they minimized certain details like Lully’s bisexuality because we are focusing on the rule. Lully was the observer of his rise to power. He was willing to do anything to the king but eventually he died of a tragic death from gangrene.

What it lacks in the story,is perhaps the extremely strong acting which was brought out to the film. I especially like the way the actors of Louis XIV and Jean-Baptiste Lully are contrasted including their looks.

Louis XIV

Louis XIV looks almost androgynous with his feminine features and an almost delicate stature. (I thought he looks like Tilda Swinton). On the otherhand Lully looked extremely masculine with his deep-set eyes and dark complexion.The chemistry between Boris Terral and Benoit Magmel are brillant It was that contrast I think makes it so well. I can’t help but to mention Karyo (Moliere) is also brilliantly acted as he reminds me of F.Juarry role in Amadeus in that intensity as the fading star.

The production design was brilliant here,the costumes are just sublime to show you the decadence of Pre-Versallies France. If you love ballet,the costumes are amazing especially Louis XIV Ballet de La Nuit performance. If you are not engrossed by that scene,seriously you must be looking somewhere else. It also fitted nicely with Lully’s sumptuous music that showed the glory of France during that time. Of course the sets are wonderful and they almost have a Rembrandt type of lighting which is extremely lovely. Of course the cinematography is extremely sublime too-especially the dance sequences.

Oh god…the music of Lully was absolutely amazing here. Wonderfully orchestrated especially to the obscure composer Lully especially for these pieces “Marche Pour Cermonie des Turcs” ,Te Deum and most of his ballets. Like Amadeus,they managed to skillfully intertwined Lully’s music nicely to the scenes.

I feel that it was under-appericated because it was hard to get the DVD of that film,there is no region 1 DVDs in Amazon. Secondly I think they are scoffed off by it’s could be similar to Amadeus. It’s not and by the fact they use an obscure composer makes it unique. Those who love dance,Jean Baptiste-Lully (There should be more love for this composer) and anything French-You got to grab your hands on this film.

Anway I will leave you with a scene from this film

For places to watch this film,there is a link on youtube up for the movie if you don’t have the patience to download

So let me know about your comments of this film. I would love to hear it!

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