The King dances

The Dancing King is a film by the Belgian filmmaker Gérard Corbiau released in 2000 .


The film traces the meeting between the King of France Louis XIV , the talented Lully and the ingenious Molière . Louis XIVhas a passion for dance and it is Lully who will set it to music. Lully born in Florence, comes to court thanks to the Duc de Guise who wants an Italian teacher for the princess of Montpensier. The meeting of this young fiery Latin with the incandescent King barely mature, promises great achievements. Indeed, it is in 1653 that Lully becomes composer at the court and his ballets serve perfectly the policy of the King, whose culmination of this perfect agreement will be the “Dance of the Sun”, placed in the center of the universe and surrounded by all planets, symbolic representation of ministers and courtiers and the role they will now play at court.

But Monsieur ( Philippe d’Orléans , brother of the king) was infatuated with a leader of the troop: Molière (Jean-Baptiste Poquelin). Excellence being able to reign only in one house, the learner at his expense, must yield Molière and his troupe to the King, who makes the Comédie-Française in opposition to the Italians of the commedia dell’arte .

A trio is formed then, the one dance, the other composes and the last plays. They are the centerpieces of court entertainment: The King radiates, sublimated by the magical and vibrant notes of Lully, then Moliere triumphs over hypocrisy and monotony through his plays and his acerbic acting.

This perfect harmony suddenly shatters, when the King discovers that he loses his flexibility and his agility and that despite the musical arrangements of Lully, he can no longer reproduce an assembly (no dance combining jumps among others) or even an arabesque with the same divine lightness as before. A certain heaviness suddenly seized his limbs which nails him to the ground to his dismay. He who had been able to give the illusion of being able to fly on the spring notes of Lully, is forced to give up his art of predilection.

Louis XIV, too perfectionist and proud, can not afford to offer his courtiers the altered image of a declining star. He refuses henceforth to perform and renounces the dance definitively, in spite of the supplications of Lully, who, unhappy and helpless in the face of the possibility of losing his functions and privileges, is also dedicated to sadness and desolation in the loss of life. intimacy of the King, the object of his amorous devotion.

Desiring, however, to continue to laugh, and although advancing in age, Louis XIV, who can no longer dance, now orders that Lully and Moliere work together for his entertainment; they put together comedies-ballets with the kind contribution of Corneille. Then starts a progressive takeover of Lully on Molière after nine years of collaboration that will see the birth of nine pieces and for which Lully will obtain the repentant monarch, the exclusivity of copyrights. While Molière remains the artist most adulated by the King, Lully jealous and furious, seeks to discredit him in the eyes of all, denouncing the burlesque character of what he calls “buffoonery” and which he now refuses to serve the antics with honorable musical compositions. The ”

The film shows the beginnings as well as the tribulations of three souls dedicated to the perfection of their arts and whose tragic completion suspends the viewer between nostalgia and desires for accomplishment. In this magnificent trio, magical and tragic, the corruption of the soul by the ambition of court, pervert pre-established human relations and governed by ancestral social codes of an impassable morality. It is in the decline of the end of a laborious reign and the lack of proper medical care that this compelling story, both partisan and partial, is delivered by an aging figure: Jean-Baptiste Lully.

Historical details: Lully dies at the age of 55 following an accident with his cane, the same one used to beat the measure: it pierced his foot, the gangrene that took hold of his lower limb was at the origin of the septicemia which carried him away, he had refused the amputation which might have saved him.

Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, says Molière, leaves to posterity among others, the play Les Précieuses ridicules which made him famous, while Lully fell gradually into the collective oblivion. Molière remains in the national unconscious, a key figure in the reign of Louis XIV. He died February 17, 1673, after the fourth representation of the imaginary Patient for whom he interpreted the role of Argan. The King ordered a funeral, contrary to the custom of the time that the actors were not buried in the sacraments of the Church.

Technical sheet

  • Title: The King Dances
  • Director: Gérard Corbiau
  • Screenplay: Eve Castro , Gerard Corbiau , Andree Corbiau , Didier Decoin , after the work of Philippe Beaussant
  • Photography: Gerard Simon
  • Costumes: Olivier Bériot
  • Sets: Hubert Pouille
  • Editing: Ludo Troch and Philippe Ravoet
  • Music: Reinhard Goebel
  • Choreography: Béatrice Massin
  • Music Advisor: Daniel Lipnik
  • Producer: Dominique Janne
  • Country of origin: France and Belgium
  • Language: French
  • Genres: Historical Movie , Musical
  • Duration: 108 minutes


  • Benoît Magimel : Louis XIV
  • Boris Terral : Jean-Baptiste Lully
  • Cheky Karyo : Molière
  • Cécile Bois : Madeleine, Lully’s wife
  • Colette Emmanuelle : Anne of Austria
  • Johan Leysen : Robert Cambert
  • Claire Keim : Julie
  • Idwig Stéphane : the Prince of Conti
  • Caroline Veyt : Armande Béjart
  • Ingrid Rouif : Madame de Montespan


  • 26 th ceremony of Caesar :
    • César of the best male hope ( Boris Terral )
    • Caesar for the best sound
    • Caesar best costumes

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