Louis XIV is synonymous with style, debauchery and excess. The indulgent palace of Versailles: glitte...展开ring on the outside, grimy on the underneath, perfectly symbolises his reign. "Versailles, c'est moi," said Louis XIV. And so this lavish Anglo-French co-production, brought vividly to life by premier league historians and opulent dramatisations, combines a portrait of the Sun King and his mistresses with the story of his grandest and greatest design. It is a tale of mind-bending contradictions. The palace enveloped a modest hunting lodge. Formal gardens and broad canals were created on a mosquito-infested swamp. Thousands of fully grown trees were transplanted, and yet there was never enough water for the fountains to work. A centre of art and style, Versailles was also a hotbed of intrigue and gossip - a cross between Royal Ascot and the dealing floor of a futures exchange. At the centre of all this was the King, a consummate performer with incredible energy who died a broken man, saying: "I have loved war too much."
The film recreates the life and loves of France's most famous king, Louis XIV. Dubbed the Sun King by his admiring court, Louis conquered half of Europe, conducted dozens of love affairs and dazzled his contemporaries with his lavish entertainments. But perhaps his greatest achievement - and certainly his longest lasting love - was the incredible palace he built at Versailles, one of the wonders of the world.
Filmed in the spectacular staterooms, bedrooms and gardens of Versailles itself, this beautifully photographed drama-documentary brings the reign of one of Europe's greatest and most flamboyant monarchs triumphantly to life, with the help of interviews with the world's leading experts on his reign. Samuel Theis delights as the Sun King who wants to create a dwelling that will reflect his God given right to rule France. A grandiose yet sensitive portrait of Louis XIV, visionary monarch, and his masterpiece, Versailles, Europe's most splendid palace. Versailles remains one of the wonders of the modern world, and this film recreates the spectacular staterooms, gardens and bedrooms that were the background to Louis' love affairs.
Written by: J. Dubuisson (A Species' Odyssey) and M. Fessler (The Emperor's Journey)
Producer : Serge Lalou
Drama Director : Thierry Binisti
- Samuel Theis
- Jerome Pouly from the Comedie Francaise
- Antoine Coesens
- Nicolas Jouhet
- Germain Wagner
- Benjamin Baroche
Produced, Directed & Edited for BBC by Paul Burgess
Executive Producer for BBC : Carol Sennett
A Les Films D'Ici Production for BBC and France 2, L' Etablissement Public du Musee et du Domaine National de Versailles, NDR Norddeutscher Rundfunk, YLE Teema, NHK (2007)