Biblioteca JB

Ridicule

Ridicule (French pronunciation: ​[ʁidikyl]) is a 1996 French film set in the 18th century at the decadent court of Versailles, where social status can rise and fall based on one's ability to mete out witty insults and avoid ridicule oneself. The story examines the social injustices of late 18th century France, in showing the corruption and callousness of the aristocrats.

The film begins in 1783 with the Chevalier de Milletail (Carlo Brandt) visiting the elderly Monsieur de Blayac (Lucien Pascal), confined to his chair. He taunts him about his past prowess in wit and reminds him of how he humiliated him, naming him "Marquis de Clatterbang" when he fell over while dancing. He then urinates on the helpless old man.
 
The film then shifts to the Dombes, a boggy region north of Lyon. The Baron Grégoire Ponceludon de Malavoy (Charles Berling) is a minor aristocrat and engineer. He is one of the few aristocrats who care about the plight of the peasants. Horrified by the sickness and death caused by the mosquitoes that infest the swamps, he hopes to drain them; he goes to Versailles in the hope of obtaining the backing of King Louis XVI (Urbain Cancelier).
 
Just before reaching Versailles, Ponceludon is robbed and beaten. He is found by the Marquis de Bellegarde (Jean Rochefort), a minor noble and physician. As Ponceludon recuperates at the marquis' house, Bellegarde takes him under his wing, teaching him about wit (l'esprit), the primary way to make one's way at court. At first, Ponceludon's provincial background makes him a target at parties and gatherings, even though he proves himself a formidable adversary in verbal sparring.
 
At one such party, he catches L'abbé de Vilecourt (Bernard Giraudeau) cheating at a game of wits, with the help of his lover, Madame de Blayac (Fanny Ardant), the beautiful and rich recent widow of Monsieur de Blayac, who was to have been Ponceludon's sponsor at court. Blayac repays his generosity in not exposing them by arranging for the certification of his lineage—thereby allowing his suit to proceed. Despite his success, Ponceludon begins to see that the court at Versailles is corrupt and hollow.
 
Clasificación [ CM DVD 00551] Disponible en DVD, 4 Piso BJB)