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Death of Louis XIV, The

Director:  Albert Serra
Year Released:  2016
Rating:  3.0

The great Sun King (Jean-Pierre Léaud), in his seventies, is sickly and confined to his bed because of gangrene while religious types, connivers, cooks, his beloved greyhounds and medical personnel (actually quacks) surround him. I'm not entirely certain as to why Serra made this: to reiterate the role of cinema as voyeuristic activity (Jim Morrison once said, "Film spectators are quiet vampires")? to fetishize the death process? to show Léaud's own aging-on-screen (recall youthful Jean-Pierre in The 400 Blows)? Or was it purely an aesthetic decision - to make every frame look like it was painted by Rembrandt? Perhaps all explanations are valid, but the finished product is both hypnotic and distressing, marking the end of a notable part of French History ... according a Spaniard.

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