A poor nobleman has a plan to rid his homeland of its disease infested swamp. To do this he needs backing and so heads to the court of King Louis XVI in a bid to solicit aid. He soon discovers that the worthiness of the plan itself will not grant him an audience with the King, at Versailles the sharpness of one's wit is what gets you noticed. Those found lacking in the art of wordsmanship are maliciously despatched.
En route for the French Revolution
- Ridicule review by LR
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You rated this film: 5
This is an excellent historical drama. The setting in pre-revolutionary France, when the monarchy and the aristocracy were still in place, is beautifully realised. The arrogance and complacency of the old order presents a huge obstacle to a well-intentioned young man from the provinces who wants to drain a swamp and thereby save many local people from fever. He thinks that the good sense of his scheme and the detailed plans he has drawn up will carry all before him, but then he encounters the reality of the court and discovers that rationality has no status in their world. As befits a representative of the Enlightenment, there is something light and optimistic about this story - a certain cheerfulness - but the sullen, brutal authority of the aristocracy and the monarchy is also clearly conveyed. Well acted, well directed, intelligent script, effective drama - hence the five stars. It is almost a companion piece to A Royal Affair (about the Enlightenment coming to Denmark) but without those dark hues and tragic undertones.
Fairly entertaining period drama (won Cesar and BAFTA), though some of the French wit is lost in the subtitles. Drawn-out in the beginning and a bit moralistic towards the end, but if you liked Dangerous Liaisons, you'll probably like this too (though DL is superior). You might also want to check out 'Vatel', which is a great film in this genre.