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Perhaps the greatest of Roberto Rossellini's late historical films (1966), this beautifully mounted, witty, and slyly didactic account of what Louis XIV did at Versailles is about a good many things: the rise of the bourgeoisie, the king as director of staged events, the formation of the modern state, the precedence in politics of style over content. An endlessly thought-provoking masterpiece. 100 min. In French with subtitles.

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