The world altered tremendously during the Enlightenment Era. Here are a few movies that properly reflect the intensity of the era.
The world altered tremendously during the Enlightenment Era. Great minds, fresh discoveries, and political upheaval marked this era, when revolutions and revolutionary ideas overturned the old feudal order and ushered in the modern world’s framework. This is one of the things that makes the period of the Enlightenment so intriguing for films to be set in.
This is a time when everything is possible. There was a rise in both atheism and new types of Christianity. Alchemy flourished at the same time that the scientific method was developed. Each of these professions has been re-invented by the likes of painters, explorers, surgeons, and soldiers. The Enlightenment, in other words, is both grand and intimate at the same time. Here are seven outstanding Enlightenment-era dramas to get you started:
1. Restoration (1995)
As Robert Merivel, a young doctor hired to treat King Charles II’s favorite pet dog, Robert Downey Jr. plays the character of Robert Merivel. When Merivel saved the animal’s life, the king showered him with favor and permitted him to engage in his decadently licentious festivities at the royal castle. Charles II’s favorite mistress is the only price for keeping the monarch happy: Robert must marry her.
In this film, we see the hedonism of monarchy, the chasm between rich and poor, and the lives of the Quakers.
2. The Libertine (2004)
Second Earl of Rochester John Wilmot was an ardent admirer of King Charles II and a prolific poet. Wilmot was a man eager to take on Puritanism with sexually graphic writing and a lifestyle to match during the era of Puritanism.
Johnny Depp’s portrayal of the poet succeeds in bringing him to life. Wilmot’s fervor, poetry, and sadness are all on display as he battles his shamed king and his own deteriorating syphilitic condition.
3. Amadeus (1984)
In Hollywood, it’s widely acknowledged that films are meant to entertain, not teach. Amadeus is a jumble of disinformation, not the kind of thing you want to learn from. Regardless, it’s a lot of fun to see. If not Mozart’s personal story, it captures the artist’s spirit and talent.
Despite his musical prowess, young Mozart is depicted in the film as an impish and unappreciated pervy genius. Due to his provocative behavior and his penchant for controversial compositions, the young maestro once wrote a piece of music called “Leck mich am Arsch.”
4. Stage Beauty (2004)
In the past, all actors in English theater were male. Edward Kynaston, a kid actor in 17th-century London who specialized in portraying feminine personas, is the main character.
Actor Kynaston is rendered obsolete by the king’s proclamation allowing women to perform in the theater, which is the focus of Stage Beauty. Kystonian begins an affair with a young English actress named Margaret Hughes, who is the first Englishwoman to appear on stage.
5. The Madness of King George (1994)
The legacy of King George III is a contentious one. Because of his disastrous campaign against the British colonies in the New World, he was unable to regain authority, and as a result, the United States of America was born. Later in life, as his mental condition deteriorated, he also became unpredictable.
The narrative of The Madness of King George is obvious, but the script and the actors’ performances elevate this picture to a classic status.
6. Rembrandt (1936)
Rembrandt’s life has been the subject of a slew of biographical films, several of which appear to have borrowed their titles directly from the artist’s surname. Charles Laughton’s performance in the 1936 film is the best.
While the film’s photography, sets and costumes are ahead of their time, it is the actors’ performances that feel like they could have come straight out of Shakespeare’s plays.
7. To Kill a King (2003)
King Charles I of England was pitted against parliamentarian Oliver Cromwell in the English Civil War. Killing a monarch was nearly unimaginable at the time because rulers were thought to have inherited their throne as a divine prerogative.
Cromwell and Fairfax are confronted with the necessity of executing their king in the novel To Kill a King, which deals with Oliver Cromwell and Charles I.
8. Quills (2000)
The Marquis de Sade’s legacy will endure forever. They were ahead of their time in terms of titillation and philosophical profundity, with his books on the subject of BDSM (in fact, the S in BDSM comes from his name).
When de Sade is imprisoned in a sanitarium, Quills tells the story of the last days of his life, in which the author smuggles out his writings in order to argue against censorship and prudishness. They come up with new ways to punish him every time he opposes them, yet his defiance is founded on principle alone, embodying both the carnal and philosophical essence of his writings.
9. Sade (2000)
The Marquis de Sade was the subject of two films in 2000. On trial for both being born into the aristocracy and writing Justine, a French aristocrat’s life is made more tragic and serious in the French film Sade.
Although the film was released twenty years ago (and over two centuries following the death of de Sade), it nevertheless feels relevant today. People are calling for the guillotine to be brought back because of economic disparity, and sexual liberation is being utilized to overthrow oppressive Puritanical regimes, therefore it appears that Sade is a film that will be more well-known by the year 2020.
10. The Death of Louis XIV (2016)
Everyone should avoid this film. The Death of Louis XIV is a masterpiece in its own right, but the film’s ponderous pace feels out of step with today’s sensibilities.
A brilliant performance by Jean-Pierre Leaud shows Louis the Sun King as an exhausted, gangrene-stricken man. Enlightenment began with the death of King Louis XIV, making the king’s death one of the most significant events in this entire time of history.