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Albert Serra. Roi Soleil

The films of Albert Serra (Banyoles, 1975) have enjoyed resounding success at museums and cinemas. His film, La mort de Louis XIV, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2016, depicts the agonising pain of the Sun King alone on his deathbed. It reveals how the most powerful figure in France of his time, played by Jean-Pierre Léaud, drew his last breaths, dying of gangrene. One year later, Serra restaged the death of Louis XIV in a performance entitled Roi Soleil. The performance was conceived as the twin sister of the feature film.

In Roi Soleil, Serra returns to the original idea of keeping Jean-Pierre Léaud, a legendary figure in the French New Wave movement, on his deathbed for several weeks in the lobby of the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. This time round, Lluís Serrat played the role of the monarch. The work, presented as an installation in several places, perfectly illustrates Serra’s quest for a certain innocence in the thespian’s acting, specific to Serra’s work. By merging performance and installation, this Roi Soleil is ‘a minimalist beast’, in the words of a film critic, bathed in red neon light.

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