The title of this major French costume drama means “Louis, child-king”, and indeed it’s a fascinating fresco about the formative years of the young king Louis XIV, before he became the Sun-king at Versailles. It was a dark and violent period, when the Louvre (meaning ‘wolves hunt castle’, hunting was a major aristocratic pastime), then still the somewhat gloomy royal palace, was the battle field of palace intrigues while the regency was held by queen-mother Anne of Austria but the actual head of the royal government was the aging cardinal Giulio Mazirini (‘Mazarin’), the less-known Italian successor of Richelieu, who also introduced to the court and the kingdom a host of his countrymen from whom Louis would learn the passion for Italian culture, especially music which would flourish under the direction of Lully (but that later story is another movie, “Le Roi danse”). The elaborate script sketches the story of French power politics, too complicate and devious to summarize in any detail, but mainly from the viewpoint of the immature king under maternal guardianship, who probably didn’t comprehend half of the grave troubles focusing on the strife between the official Catholic church and those claiming freedom of religion, especially for the Huguenots, but in reality mainly driven by personal and family ambitions and the grip of nobles on the kingdom at the expense of the royal power, and climaxing in a full rebellion, known as the Fronde, which forces the royal family to flee for their lives, an experience that may have decided Louis to dedicate his reign to preventing a repeat by establishing absolutism as he did. Some narration is done by Louis’s younger brother Philip, the duke of Anjou, who seems smarter but as the spare heir is condemned to life in a golden cage, overshadowed by Louis while any ‘disrespect’ for his crowned sibling is punishable on the spot by strap lashes administered on his bare behind by a servant.
Birds Without A Nest 1996
Ptitsy bez gnyozd (original title)
1h 29m | Biography, Drama | Release date: 1996 (Belarus)
A film based on Belarusian poet Larisa Geniyush’s memoir. Despite living through the difficult times and being in emigration, she fought for freedom in her homeland and expressed devotion to the nation and it’s language.
Der Passfälscher 2022
1h 56m | Biography, Drama | Release date: October 13, 2022 (Germany)
21-year-old Cioma Schönhaus won’t let anyone take away his zest for life, especially not the Nazis. He wants to discover life, but has the misfortune of living as a Jewish person in Berlin in the 1940s. Since the best hiding spots are in plain sight, Cioma decides to go out into the light to escape deportation. Using the identity of a marine officer he created for himself, he throws himself into the city’s nightlife and even finds a fragile hope for love during the darkest moments of the war. Throughout the day he forges IDs with just a brush, some ink and a steady hand – and saves the lives of many others. His talent puts him in more and more danger, though, and at some point Cioma’s only hope to survive is a last forged ID – with his own name on it.
I Was Nineteen 1968
Ich war neunzehn (original title)
1h 55m | Biography, Drama, War | Release date: September 12, 1968 (Hungary)
April 1945: 19-year-old Gregor Hecker reaches the outskirts of Berlin as part of the Red Army’s scouting team. Having fled Germany with his family when he was eight, he is confronted with the dilemma of having to fight men from his birth country. Through dealing with challenging situations (e.g. he is appointed commander of Bernau, talks to many disillusioned Germans, and keeps getting attacked by scattered groups of German soldiers), he grows more confident that not all hope is lost for post-war Germany. Based on the diary entries of director Konrad Wolf, the episodic movie authentically portrays the protagonist’s struggle to come to terms with his own past and identity.
The Lord of the Ants 2022
Il signore delle formiche (original title)
2h 14m | Biography, Drama, History | 8 September 2022 (Italy)
Based on true events of the late 60s in Italy, poet, playwright and myrmecologist Aldo Braibanti is prosecuted and sentenced to prison for the love he shares with his barely-of-age pupil and friend, Ettore. Amidst a chorus of voices of accusers, supporters and a largely hypocritical public, a single committed journalist takes on the task of piecing together the truth, between secrecy and desire, facing suspicion and censorship in the process.
Paul Connolly (Michael Socha) recalls his harrowing childhood growing up in a children’s home following a police investigation into his boyhood friend’s suicide. As Paul struggles to build a relationship with Anthea (Zoë Tapper), he is forced to confront those responsible for his shattered childhood and the death of his friend. Based on true events.
Martin is one of the most promising football talents Sweden has ever seen. At sixteen, his lifelong dream comes true when he is bought by one of Italy’s most prestigious clubs. Yet that dream comes at a very high price in terms of sacrifice, dedication, pressure and – most of all – loneliness. Martin begins to question whether this is actually the life he yearned for. “Tigers” is a life-and-death rollercoaster ride through the modern-day football industry. With a unique perspective on the world of professional sports, Ronnie Sandahl tells the true story of 16-year-old football prodigy Martin Bengtsson. A coming-of-age drama about a young man’s burning obsession in a world where everything, and everyone, has a price tag.
On the eve of his return to Europe after an extended involuntary stay in 16th-century Brazil, the German sailor Hans Staden is captured by a hostile cannibal Indian tribe. In order to survive he tries to convince the Indians that he is not Portuguese (their enemies) but a friend of the French (their allies), and that his God would be very angry if they were to eat him.