Before the success of Game of Thrones, family rivalries and power games were the heyday of French television in the 70s with the historical fresco Les Rois Maudits, to be rediscovered now on madelen.
WHAT IS IT ABOUT ?
Launched in 1972 on the second channel of the ORTF, the historic series Les Rois Maudits adapts the eponymous work of Maurice Druon into six episodes. Dramas, betrayals, murders and lusts… Fiction traces the relentless clashes in 14th century France, from the reign of Philip the Fair tarnished by a disturbing curse until the famous Hundred Years War.
Find out now the series Les Rois Maudits on madelen.
WHY IS IT WORSHIP?
The Game of Thrones series recently celebrated its 10th anniversary. Among the works often cited as inspiration by George RR Martin, author of the literary saga at the origin of the phenomenon: the seven volumes of the historical novel The Cursed Kings by Maurice Druon. “The best French historical novelist since Alexandre Dumas father,” as the American likes to describe it in 2013 for The Guardian.
In 1972, these works were brought to the screen for the first time by Claude Barma (Investigations by Commissioner Maigret) in a six-part series for French television. At the heart of the plot, not the Iron Throne, but that of the Kingdom of France, over which Philip IV the Fair reigns as absolute master at the beginning of the 14th century.
A true historical fresco, Les Rois Maudits features a host of characters and their share of rivalries, tricks, betrayals, lusts, adultery or even murders, in this dark period of history. Without forgetting an ounce of mystery with the curse launched by Jacques de Molay, Grand Master of the Order of the Knights of the Temple, during his execution.
No great re-enactments of battles or spectacular sets in Les Rois Maudits, but captivating plots at human height that benefit from the unforgettable performances of his cast, especially Jean Piat in one of his greatest roles, that of Robert d’Artois, Hélène Duc en Mahaut d’Artois and Louis Seigner in the guise of the usurer Tolomei.
In its direction, the series is sometimes closer to the theater, as in its introductory sequence where the characters stand still, presented in turn by a voice-over.
Unforgettable Mahaut d’Artois in Les Rois Maudits, Hélène Duc joined in 2005 the second television adaptation of Maurice Druon’s work, directed by Josée Dayan. In this series worn by Philippe Torreton, Gérard Depardieu and his children Julie and Guillaume, Line Renaud or even Jeanne Moreau (in Mahaut’s costume), the French actress this time plays Madame de Bouville, a secondary role.
WHAT MAY APPEAR TODAY’S PUBLIC
Many times compared to the hit series Game of Thrones, The Cursed Kings should appeal to fans of epic tales thanks to its many royal plots served by a multitude of colorful characters. This reconstruction, between fiction and reality, also highlights a period of French history that is often overlooked.
TO GO FURTHER ON MADELEN
- The Templar Knights, by Stellio Lorenzi
- Jean Piat: the political commitment of artists, an interview by André Halimi