EXEC PRODS Matthias Esche, Jan S. Kaiser, Bettina Reitz
PROD Ronald Muehlfellner
SCR Peter Sehr, Marie Noëlle
CAM Christian Berger
ED Hans Funck
PROD DES Christoph Kanter
MUS Bruno Coulais
PROD CO Bavaria Pictures / Dor Film Produktionsgesellschaft
This epic narrative of breathtaking grandeur chronicling the life of "Mad King" Ludwig of Bavaria (Sabin Tambrea) is reminiscent in many ways of last year’s VIFF success A Royal Affair. Both are historical costume dramas, both play against strong political backgrounds and both have extremely high production values. Ludwig II, however, is the more complex and satisfying film, with powerful and delicately drawn central themes, foremost among which is the focus on the mid-19th century Bavarian monarch’s supposed "madness."
Ludwig’s unconventional genius manifests itself in his creativity and imagination. He backs Wagner and his music when the latter was being shunned; he seeks peace and beauty rather than war; and, as his mind seemingly crumbles, he inspires and funds the creation of two of Germany’s most romantic architectural achievements: the castles of Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau.
Directors Peter Sehr and Marie Noëlle trace that fine line between sanity and madness while exploring the fate of Bavaria, Prussia and France in considerable detail. Add to these themes, the lavish sets and props (the gold coach!), the luscious music of Wagner (mainly Lohengrin), the excellent ensemble acting (Tambrea as Ludwig and briefly as Louis XIV is outstanding) and sequence after sequence of highly imaginative, exquisite beauty and you end up with a film that satisfies all the senses and exercises the brain. Sehr and Noëlle are to be congratulated on a significant achievement.