The Taking of Power by Louis XIV

The Taking of Power by Louis XIV (French: La prise de pouvoir par Louis XIV), also called The Rise of Louis XIV, is a French television film by Italian film director Roberto Rossellini. The film revolves around the French king Louis XIV's rise to power after the death of his powerful advisor, Cardinal Mazarin. To achieve this political autonomy, Louis deals with his mother and the court nobles, all of whom makes the assumption that Mazarin's death will give them more power.

The Taking of Power by Louis XIV
French DVD cover
Directed byRoberto Rossellini
Produced byRoberto Rossellini
Written byPhilippe Erlanger
Jean Gruault
StarringJean-Marie Patte
Raymond Jourdan
Katharina Renn
Pierre Barrat
CinematographyGeorges Leclerc
Edited byArmand Ridel
Release date
Running time
100 min.


Colin McCabe of the University of Pittsburgh praised the film as "the most serious attempt by a great director to film history." In addition to the political story of the king's grasp of power, the "incidental details, it can be argued, form the real subject matter of all of Rossellini's historical films...." McCabe's examples include the doctors’ examination of Mazarin at the beginning of the film and the "extraordinary banquet" that comes close to the end. "We watch the dishes being prepared in a kitchen teeming with cooks, we follow the umpteenth platter as it is formally escorted through the corridors and staircases, until it reaches an enormous table, where the king sits alone, dining in front of his whole court."[1]



The Taking of Power by Louis XIV received a DVD release by The Criterion Collection in January 2009.[2]



  1. McCabe 2008
  2. "The Criterion Collection Coming Soon". The Criterion Collection. Archived from the original on November 7, 2008. Retrieved October 17, 2008.
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