ROI SOLEIL, Spain 2018, 62 min
The last hour of the French monarch Louis XIV as a gallery performance.
In front of the visitors of an art gallery, an actor stages the slow agony of the French monarch Louis XIV, until his final death, in a physical and psychological challenge of remarkable complexity. ROI SOLEIL is a reflection on the visual meaning of the actor's visage, and the deep mystery behind all genuine representation. The three essential dimensions of this dying body, the person, the actor (the vain person who is aware of being filmed) and the character, are questioned and merged with sensuality and innocence.
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Language: Catalan, Subtitles: German, English
Albert Serra cultivated an art at home in cinemas as much as in exhibition venues, blurring the boundaries between these rather different spaces. If never as thoroughly as with ROI SOLEIL, which intertwines installation and performance art in the creation of a minimalist beast best described as the brutally ironic, red-neon-cool art scene-double of Serra’s warmest and maybe most heart-felt film so far, LA MORT DE LOUIS XIV (2016). The images and sounds for ROI SOLEIL were recorded in early 2017 at the Galeria Graça Brandão (Lisbon) where Lluís Serrat (in just-about every possible sense the opposite of LA MORT DE LOUIS XIV’s Jean-Pierre Léaud) performed the monarch’s agony for seven days in front of the space’s visitors, using merely a few props, most importantly: a massive wig and a tacky, multi-tired cake stand. Some 29 hours of material showing Serrat shuffing around, lying down, moaning, writhing, then finally keeping dead still were condensed by Serra into a 61-minute tight piece that from mid-August on was screened for a month twice an evening at the Galeria Cadaqués (Girona) as a video-installation in cinema-like circumstances. And now, it has arrived where it always belonged: cinema! – Olaf Möller, Viennale
Winner of the Grand Prix of the 2018 FID Marseille International Competition, the film captures an hour-long staging of the slow agony leading up to French monarch Louis XIV’s death.
"Roi Soleil" follows on the heels of Serra’s 2016 "The Death of Louis XIV", isolating, extending and recasting its titular death scene in a completely different context. By translating this performative installation back into a cinematic setting, Serra offers us an intensely immersive experience entangled in different times, sites and media. – Tate Modern
Aristocracy in all its grandeur, its stupidity and its agony, the representation of power, the forces of art. Between the sublime and the grotesque, between derision and the derisive, between Buñuel and Dali, a royal figure engages in a quest for his death mask. – FID Marseille
- FIDMarseille 2018 - Grand Prix of the International Competition
- IndieFestival Brazil
- Black Canvas FCC Mexico
- III Moscow International Experimental Film Festival MIEFF
- 56th New York Film Festival
- Split Film Festival Croatia
- 22th Ji.hlava International Film Festival
- 15 Festival de Sevilla
- 33º Festival Internacional de Cine de Mar del Plata
- Film Mutations: Festival of Invisible Cinema, Zagreb
- Cineteca Matadero, Madrid
- 5th Berlin Critics' Week
- IBAFF 2019
- 18º IndieFestival Belo Horizonte
- Dokumentalrfilmwoche Hamburg
- Jeonju International Film Festival
- Beldocs IDFF
- New Horizons International Film Festival, Wroclaw
- Thessaloniki Film Festival
Extract from the conversation held between Albert Serra and Àngel Quintana in Banyoles, Factoria de les Arts, 4 February 2019. See Albert Serra. Roi Soleil, Barcelona: Fundació Antoni Tàpies, 2019.
Director and Screenplay
Director of Photography
Ariadna Ribas, Albert Serra
Joaquim Sapinho, Albert Serra
Andergraun Films und Rosa Filmes
DCP (2K, 25 fps, 5.1)
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