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The King Is Dancing

2000 1h 54m Musical List
Reviews 79% Audience Score 1,000+ Ratings
Gerard Corbiau's look at the rapport between a French king and his favorite composer starts when Louis XIV (Benoît Magimel) is a teen. The young king-to-be is an advocate for the arts, and he befriends composer and conductor Jean-Baptiste de Lully (Boris Terral) when he choreographs a ballet for him. When Louis XIV starts his reign in 1661, Lully receives an official position in his court, and their relationship grows, but it is threatened by the king's stoicism. Read More Read Less

Audience Reviews

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Audience Member Nice acting from Benoît Magimel, beautiful costumes, set design, choreography and music. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 01/12/23 Full Review Audience Member Blending historical and artistic elements to present us with a true masterwork, Le Roi Danse has all the most powerful thrills of intelligent cinema and is a must-watch for anybody interested in arts, the Modern Age, France or just anybody with good taste. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 02/15/23 Full Review Audience Member interesting and informative movie about the cultural life of the french court during the reign of louis xiv. rich in setting, costumes and music, it gives a nice view on the ballett and theatre events of that time. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 01/21/23 Full Review Audience Member Having just seen this film I was impressed and intrigued enough to want to comment on it.The subject is quite unusual-the life,rise and court of the famous French king Louis the fourteenth,the famous "sun king" as seen by his court musician,the not least famous Lully. The style,imagery,artistic means of this film reminded me of another much talked about film which also deals with a composer,Forman's Amadeus-in both films we see certain taste for the dramatic, even overtly theatrical,for haunting and often violent scenes,for the grotesque and almost disturbing. However I prefer a more disturbing,uncomfortable view of history than the typical Hollywood style of idealizing historical characters whether if actually good,bad or just complex(a mixture of good and bad,like most historical characters and most people really are). The film is historically somewhat biased,mainly for two reasons: 1.though an important part of Louis's reign,Lully's music wasn't the most important affair of state,yet in this film it is depicted as if it were the only reason of existence for France,the king,s family,his court 2.Lully and Moliere weren't the only artists to contribute to the glamor,luxury,power,glory,cultural achievements and distinctive style always linked with the sun-king's reign-there were also architects like Le Brun,Le Vau,Le Notre,tragedy-play writes like Corneille and Racine,literary critics like Boileau,carpenters like Boulle and many other,among whom even the tens of thousands of laborers,who died or became ill while turning,with immense efforts and during decades of relentless work,the inhospitable marshes of Versailles into Europe's most famous and glamorous royal residence... Yes I may know a bit to much on France during this time. The sun-king is depicted in an awkward,somewhat strange way:the immense opulence of his lifestyle is known,however I always pictured him much more formal and reserved,almost arrogant,distant in his majestic dignity,exhaling a spartan sobriety and god-like greatness out of every pore. Without being a parody or caricature of the real Louis,I often got quite the opposite of what I expected-he seems to me vulnerable,lonely,often unloved and misunderstood,unbalanced,craving for appreciation and success(historically,these attitudes can be partly explained by the fact that Louis was at the beginning of his reign,before he gradually became an absolute ruler). And Louis dances...Russel's The Devils seems to anticipate this film,as we see that also Louis the thirteenth,none else than the sun king's father is also depicted as a music-lover,an innate artist rather than a monarch(remember Russel's creation and how the French king from that film was depicted wearing almost the same elaborate costumes and performing almost the same histrionic,yet fascinating dance movements),however Russel's intention was to detract French monarchy as decadent,capitalizing on the homophobic reactions the king's slightly effeminate clothing and gesture might cause,especially to the more conservative viewer. A certain homo-erotic message is undoubtedly present,however not in order to deconstruct the myth of the sun-king,it is often hinted how hard it is for Lully,who anxiously tried to closet his bisexual desires and fit into the heterosexual mainstream,to keep his secret love for the king hidden well,even if strictly heterosexual in his private life it is a historical fact that Louis the fourteenth is known to have been an extremely good-looking man and therefore likely to attract admirers of both genders- I think the actor playing Louis is a good choice as he both resembles the historical character and is handsome enough to justify Lully's crush,however a profssional dancer would have also depicted truthfully Louis the showman rather than the politician(or a politician trough his on-stage extravaganza,as an expression of power and a manipulatuive technique),this very side of the king's personality would have been the ideal part,even more than for Magimel or Tarding for brilliant real-life performers Nurejew or Baryshnikow. Another historical character with whom the sun king might be compared is the Emperor Nero-he too build an impressive,megalomaniac palace as symbol of his absolute,almost divine power(Versailles being a baroque version of the legendary Domus Aurea-The House of Gold),both being fascinated of overindulgent self-marketing by comparing themselves to particularly grand and lavish imagery like the sun,the sun-god,gold and the golden age,both of them being known not only as protectors of art but also as performance-Nero scandalized the virtuous Romans with his acting and his often effeminate costumes and parts,just like young Louis shocked the Catholic circle gathered around his aging and strict mother and some exaggeratedly pious and narrow-minded aristocrats,which rather than understanding the beauty of art played the strict moralists(though often immoral themselves). In the end,as we also know from history,the sun-king succeeds to fulfill his dreams of magnificence,however at a high cost,among the ones who payed the price being eventually the court composer himself:Lully got injured while stubbornly insisting to conduct a Te Deum which his monarch didn't even honor with his presence,this injury getting infected and causing Lully's death(this is historical fact,Lully really died this way),the whole film being,like in Amadeus,a deathbed confession recalling the most important moments in the composer's life. Even if Lully's death appears as accidental,useless and stupid,it gave his life the ultimate meaning and apotheosis-by refusing to accept the amputation of the wounded body-part he ultimately sacrificed his life to his sovereign,being the perfect subject,faithful to his master till the end,giving both his work and his love for the king a noble and uplifting conclusion,defying&defeating all the rumors and irony spread by his many rivals. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 02/21/23 Full Review Audience Member Ballet, Música, literatura, el Rey Sol, otra vez FRANCIA Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 02/04/23 Full Review Audience Member Un tres bon film avec une splendide bande originale = ) Benoit Magimel est un prince ... que dis-je, un roi sur scène ! Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 02/21/23 Full Review Read all reviews
The King Is Dancing

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Movie Info

Synopsis Gerard Corbiau's look at the rapport between a French king and his favorite composer starts when Louis XIV (Benoît Magimel) is a teen. The young king-to-be is an advocate for the arts, and he befriends composer and conductor Jean-Baptiste de Lully (Boris Terral) when he choreographs a ballet for him. When Louis XIV starts his reign in 1661, Lully receives an official position in his court, and their relationship grows, but it is threatened by the king's stoicism.
Director
Gérard Corbiau
Producer
Dominique Janne
Screenwriter
Eve de Castro, Andree Corbiau, Gérard Corbiau, Didier Decoin
Production Co
RTL-TVi, K-Dance, Canal+, Filmstiftung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Eurimages, France 2 Cinema, Centre du Cinéma et de l'Audiovisuel de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles, K-Star, Procirep, MMC Independent, K2 SA
Genre
Musical
Original Language
French (France)
Box Office (Gross USA)
$149.5K
Runtime
1h 54m
Sound Mix
Surround