Death of Louis XIV

A mesmerizing elegy.


The Death of Louis XIV

Versailles, August 1715. Back from hunting, Louis XIV -- magisterially interpreted by New Wave icon Jean-Pierre Léaud in a career-capping performance -- feels pain in his leg. A serious fever erupts, which marks the beginning of the agony of the greatest King of France. Surrounded by a horde of doctors and his closest counselors, who come in turns at his bedside sensing the impending power vacuum, the Sun King struggles to run the country from his bed.

The Death of Louis XIV is a wry neoclassical chamber drama, a work of pure magic by Albert Serra, one of today’s most singular directors.

“Leaud’s finest onscreen creation since
The 400 Blows.” – Eric Kohn, Indiewire

“An instant classic.” –
Filmmaker Magazine

"Serra has crafted a ravishing, darkly witty evocation of 18th-century aristocracy and a neoclassical period piece as reminiscent of the historical films of Visconti and Rossellini as the modernist literary adaptations of Rohmer and Oliveira." – Jordan Cronk,
Film Comment
Not Rated
Bio-pic, Drama, History, French Cinema
Albert Serra
Jean-Pierre Léaud, Patrick d'Assumçao, Marc Susini, Irène Silvagni, Bernard Belin, Jacques Henric
Peter Keough, Boston Globe

Fish, they say, stink from the head down. In the case of Louis XIV (Jean-Pierre Léaud), it was the opposite. A pain in his leg turned into gangrene which, misdiagnosed and untreated by his physicians, spread upward from his foot to kill him within a matter of days in 1715. The docu-drama “The Death ...

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