Before his reign as one of the strongest monarchs in France, and Europe, few would have guessed that Louis XIV (Patte) was a youthful playboy more interested in skirt chasing than governance. "The Taking of Power" captures him at a decisive moment after the death of his tutor, the powerful Cardinal Mazarin (Jourdan). As he moves to consolidate power, he must keep the constant threat of rebellion — and his own ambitious mother (Renn) — at bay.
You'll feel as if you're watching history come to life in this underappreciated historical drama by Italian filmmaker Rossellini. Not so much a traditional biopic as an attempt to capture one moment in historical time in minute detail, you'll be riveted by the twists and turns of court intrigue that young Louis (Patte) navigates on the way to righting his realm, with the help of trusted adviser Colbert (Jourdan). Rossellini's unadorned, realistic shooting style avoids the high gloss of most period filmmaking, providing something as close to a window on this time as possible. Made for the express purpose of education, Rossellini's film cant help but also be highly entertaining.