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A Feature film by Roland Joffé

Produced by Gaumont, Légende

Release in France : 10/05/2000

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Actors (9)

Production and distribution (5)

Co-production :

TF1 Films Production

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International releases (28)

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Château du Prince de Condé, late April 1671 François Vatel is the faithful and devoted attendant to the proud yet ageing and financially ruined Prince de Condé. The Prince needs to gain favour with King Louis XIV and hopefully receive command of a new militry campaign against the Duth.Condé will submit to no-one but his king, yet for this occasion, he places himself and the welfare of his château in the hands of Vatel, assigning him the difficult task of receiving the Court of Versailles in its entirety at the Château de Chantilly. The festivities shall last three days and three nights and must be dazzling to say the very least. To ensure success in his duties, Vatel heads an army of servants, men and women, young and old, working incessantly to surprise, amaze and satisfy the king. Vatel sedigns the festivities by theme, with extremely elaborate menus and grand thatrics of which the king is most fond. In the midst of this bustle, Vatel is seduced by Anne de Montausier who is close to the queen and coveted by Lauzun and the king himslef. Anne gives herself to Vatel who cuts the figure of a grand master of ceremonies despite his plebeian origins ; he is above all man of great heart and conviction. The festivities are drawing to close. Judging by the atmosphere of good humour, success seems close. But on the evening of the third day, the fish for dinner does not arrive…


What I like about this film is that Vatel doesn’t go seeking compliments. He just does his job. The rest doesn’t concern him, he’s not interested in what happens upstairs. Just like Renoir’s “Rules of the Game,” there’s an upstairs and a downstairs – aristocrats above, servants below. What I like about the movies is the way various episodes can take off in so many directions. The magic created by an actor in a scene can occur despite him, without him knowing. In fact, it’s better if he doesn’t know. Actors’ greatest moments come when they’re not aware of it, when they’re deep in their work, just doing their job.

Gérard Depardieu, actor

Photos (6)

Full credits (17)

Executive Producer :

Ilan Goldman

Adapter/dialogue writer :

Tom Stoppard

Director of Photography :

Éric Moreau

Production Manager :

Patrick Bordier

Editor :

Noëlle Boisson

Production Designer :

Jean Rabasse

Music Composers :

Ennio Morricone, Jean-Michel Bernard

Costume designer :

Yvonne Sassinot de Nesle

Still Photographer :

Étienne George

Assistant Director :

Pascal Guérin

Screenwriters :

Tom Stoppard, Jeanne Labrune

Sound Recordist :

Pavel Wdowczak

Press Attaché (film) :

Isabelle Sauvanon

Continuity supervisors :

Sylvette Baudrot, Virginie Prin

Art director :

Sabrine Chartier

Choreographer :

Corinne Devaux

Visual Effects :

Bruno Maillard

Technical details

Feature film

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Production language :


Coproducer countries :

France, Great Britain

Original French-language productions :


Nationality :

Majority French (France, Great Britain)

Production year :


French release :


Runtime :

1 h 44 min

Current status :


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Posters (3)



Festival Selections (8)

Mar Del Plata International Film Festival - 2001

Mar Del Plata International Film Festival (Argentina, 2001)


Official Selection - Out of Competition

Cesar Awards - French film industry awards - 2001

Cesar Awards - French film industry awards (France, 2001)

Selection (2)

Best Costume Design : Yvonne Sassinot de Nesle

Best Production Design : Jean Rabasse

Mostra - São Paulo International Film Festival - 2000

Mostra - São Paulo International Film Festival (Brazil, 2000)


Official International Selection

Cannes Film Market - 2000

Cannes Film Market (France, 2000)



Cannes International Film Festival - 2000

Cannes International Film Festival (France, 2000)


Out of Competition


Cesar Awards - French film industry awards - 2001

Cesar Awards - French film industry awards (France, 2001)


César award for best production design : Jean Rabasse