Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Movie Review: Le Roi Danse

Ever since I started my blog I wanted to expand in the subjects of my articles. I have a deep love for multiple things, including movies. I love to read, talk, imagine, think and above all write about movies that I like. So when I started my blog, I really wanted to write movie reviews too, but because I wanted to stick as much as possible to Lolita, I never really got the chance to it. But I really want to write reviews after all, including Lolita-related ones, so I’ll just give it a go after all. ^^

Have you ever had a situation where you watched a movie you didn’t really have expectations of and you instantly fell in love? Well, I’ve had it. In fact, it happened to me a couple of weeks ago.
I never had high hopes the artclasses at my school would ever get interesting. The book we use describes every painting, musical form, statue and fountain as if it is a miracle from the gods and we should all worship it. Really, don’t think I don’t have a love for art and I can imagine some pieces are in fact miracles, but the way the book decribes it can make you vomit with its adoring descriptions. So when we finally started on the subject of the ‘culture of the court’, I prayed the book wouldn’t destroy my interest in this.
Well, miraculously it didn’t. In fact, it made me even more interested in this period in history and especially in Louis XIV! To make the lessons a tiny bit more interesting, we sometimes watch a part of a movie and if we’re really lucky, the whole movie. Well, we were very lucky this time, because we watched the movie completely. And I fell in love with ‘Le roi danse’.

Le roi danse
‘Le roi danse’ (‘The king dances’, or as the English dvdversion says ‘The king is dancing’) revolves around two protagonists: king Louis XIV and musical genius and composer Jean-Baptiste Lully. Through the eyes of Lully, we see Louis’ rise to power.
Louis becomes king at the age of five, but his mother and cardinal Mazarin don’t let him rule the country. Louis is only king on stage, literally, for he has a passion for dancing and performing. At the age of 14 he dances the character of the sun in Lully’s composed ballet ‘Ballet de la nuit’ (‘Ballet of the night’). Louis’ got his famous nickname ‘le roi soleil’, ‘the sun king’, from performing this role. After gaining more self-confidence, he takes all power after the death of cardinal Mazarin at the age of 22. He continues to dance for ten years and he portrays characters like the god Apollo and the planet Jupiter, roles that have a centre function. When the king won’t dance anymore, Lully starts to write comical ballets with the famous playwriter Molière. But slowly Lully loses the favor of the king, who he devoted his life to…

The summary I wrote is a very general look at the movie, since I don’t want to spoil too much. ^^
As I said, I fell in love with this movie. I loved it for various reasons.
First of all, because the movie revolves mainly around the cultural side of Louis’ life, there is a lot of dancing and classical music. The whole movie is filled with music composed by the real Lully. The most wonderful thing is that the characters can actually hear the music too, because the music is mainly played at concerts and performances played in the movie itself. Also, the dancing is completely in the style of the court culture: horizontal movement and figure dancing, since the audience looked down on the dancers mostly. I especially adored the dance in which Louis portrays de planet Jupiter. The music is so beautiful and the dance looks strong and powerful.
Secondly, the costumes are all fantastic. The most wonderful outfits are shown troughout the movie.
I also really loved the fact that I understood and recognised quite some historical events that happened, since my interest in Louis XIV grew and I learned more about his life. The fact that the movie is in French (my favourite language ever) also contributed to my love.
Lastly, and probably most important, was the casting of the protagonists. The actors that played Louis (Benoît Magimel) and Lully (Boris Terral) were simply perfect! Both men had something strong and personal in their face that I cannot really explain. Louis had both a feminine and a male aspect in his appearance, which made him, to me, perfect for the role of the French king and every part in Lully’s face showed his devotion and love for his employer.
These aspects made ‘Le roi danse’ into the perfect movie for me. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves old/classical music, court dancing, history, the French language, great actors or even better: all of these!

Since my blog is still a Lolita blog, I created ‘the Lolifactor’. Here I shortly answer the question: ‘Is this movie loliable?’
The movie takes place just before the Rococo-period, the period that highly influenced the Lolita style. The movie has fantastic music and costumes that are perfect for any Classic Lolita occasion.
Lolifactor: ♥♥/5

‘Je n’ai pas d’amis’
‘I have no friends’