► New 4K restoration, restored by StudioCanal, Cinémathèque française, Cineteca de Bologna
Italie-Allemagne 1973 | Luchino Visconti | vo italienne stEN | 230’ | digital, version restaurée | Cast : Helmut Berger, Romy Schneider, Trevor Howard, Silvana Mangano
► Best Costume Design nomination, Oscars 1974
The reign of the tormented Ludwig, King of Bavaria, from his coronation in 1864 to his death in 1886.
« This is Visconti’s coolest, most ruminative film. Structured around various individuals — doctors, politicians, functionaries — relating their experiences with the monarch, Ludwig recalls an exhumation; it even ends on a haunting freeze-frame of the king’s dead body. A haunting moment in a beautiful, hypnotic movie. » (The Village Voice)
« A magisterial and penetrating character study of an individual isolated from, yet in thrall to, the dynastic royal family that rejects out of hand his natural proclivities and artistic instincts. » (Slant Magazine)
« By the end, Ludwig is a pale shell of himself, his teeth rotting along with his brain. Helmut Berger really distinguishes himself in these scenes, imbuing his performance with a brittle incredulity that is both childish and sad. Throughout, he comes off as a monarch that is more tolerated than followed, which contrasts well with Romy Schneider's portrayal of Empress Elisabeth as a woman always in charge. » (Criterion Confessions)