Louis, enfant roi (1993)

160 min.Biography | Drama | History
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The title of this major French costume drama means "Louis, child-king", and indeed it's a fascinating fresco about the formative years of the young king Louis XIV, before he became the Sun-king at Versailles. It was a dark and violent period, when the Louvre (meaning 'wolves hunt castle', hunting was a major aristocratic pastime), then still the somewhat gloomy royal palace, was the battle field of palace intrigues while the regency was held by queen-mother Anne of Austria but the actual head of the royal government was the aging cardinal Giulio Mazirini ('Mazarin'), the less-known Italian successor of Richelieu, who also introduced to the court and the kingdom a host of his countrymen from whom Louis would learn the passion for Italian culture, especially music which would flourish under the direction of Lully (but that later story is another movie, "Le Roi danse"). The elaborate script sketches the story of French power politics, too complicate and devious to summarize in any detail, but mainly from the viewpoint of the immature king under maternal guardianship, who probably didn't comprehend half of the grave troubles focusing on the strife between the official Catholic church and those claiming freedom of religion, especially for the Huguenots, but in reality mainly driven by personal and family ambitions and the grip of nobles on the kingdom at the expense of the royal power, and climaxing in a full rebellion, known as the Fronde, which forces the royal family to flee for their lives, an experience that may have decided Louis to dedicate his reign to preventing a repeat by establishing absolutism as he did. Some narration is done by Louis's younger brother Philip, the duke of Anjou, who seems smarter but as the spare heir is condemned to life in a golden cage, overshadowed by Louis while any 'disrespect' for his crowned sibling is punishable on the spot by strap lashes administered on his bare behind by a servant. Written By KGF Vissers  Less

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