European Union Film Showcase


  • Description
  • "Wit opens the door to the company of

    lords"-that was the humbling hoop

    through which French nobles had to jump

    to get the attention of their capricious king

    and, in movie parlance, "pitch" their projects.

    In this searing depiction of the

    largesse of the court of Louis XVI, Charles

    Berling stars as Gregoire Ponceludon, a

    good-hearted noble whose land is mired

    in swamp .... [H]e designs a series of dams

    and reservoirs that will restore the health

    to his waters .... No mere stolid man of science,

    Ponceludon possesses a playful wit,

    but one that finds its wellspring in compassion

    and kindness. It is a gift that fits

    him half-well at the king's court.

    Ponceludon's benevolent, earnest nature,

    not surprisingly, earns him the immediate

    disdain of the court, particularly from a

    slithery wordsmith, the abbot of

    Vilecourt ... Further complicating the path

    is ... dazzling but duplicitous Madame de

    Blayac, through whose bed one must proceed

    to reach the king's ear. -Duane

    Byrge, The Hollywood Reporter. Ridicule is

    Duane Byrge's Critic's Choice.

©2018 American Film Institute. All rights reserved.