TABLE OF CONTENTS

SHOT IN THE DARK: THE FILMS OF ALBERT SERRA

Albert Serra, La mort de Louis XIV (The Death of Louis XIV), 2016, HD video, color, sound, 115 minutes. Louis XIV (Jean-Pierre Léaud).

“DON’T YOU LIKE THIS HALF-LIGHT?” Casanova inquires of his servant as they travel by carriage through a dim Carpathian forest in Albert Serra’s Història de la meva mort (The Story of My Death, 2013). Like his libertine protagonist, the Catalan director is a connoisseur of obscurity. Shooting his films almost exclusively using available light, which is often scant or even absent, Serra revels in a low-lumen setting—the final scene of his Cant dels ocells (Birdsong, 2008) transpires in a nocturnal murk that renders it indiscernible—so the candlelit interiors of Versailles, the site of his latest historical drama, La mort de Louis XIV (The Death of Louis XIV, 2016), prove ideal for Serra’s studies in extreme chiaroscuro. The film begins as a misty aubade on the palace grounds, as the eponymous monarch surveys the formal gardens from his wheelchair, but then retreats into

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the March 2017 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.