Film - Feature | August 30 | 7:45 p.m. | Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
In Albert Serras masterful The Death of Louis XIV, we are a guest in the bedchamber of King Louis (Jean-Pierre Léaud), where, among his loyal servants, all energy and concern is devoted to the kings well-being and hoped-for recovery. Serra draws from literary references for historical accuracy; the room is candlelit and the scenes hover between the somber reality of death and the humor that lies in the details. With groans, exhales, and simple flicks of the wrist, Léaud subtly commands the room from his bed, adorned in lavish cloaks and even more lavish wigs (Amanda Salazar, SFFILM Festival). For Justin Chang of the Los Angeles Times, Léauds performance as the ravaged monarch is a magnificent stare into the abyss, a sustained contemplation of things we would rather not dwell upon but will ultimately have to face. He surrenders to the great equalizer that is death and emerges, somehow, looking like an artist newly born.