Home ] Up ]

Oral Presentations Semester Schedule Syllabus Movies Directors Actors Vocabulary Discussion Questions History of French Cinema Other Resources Online Grades Cinema 2 Course


Historical Drama. True story taking place at the court of a Prince (at Chantilly, north of Paris) who wants to obtain a favor from King Louis XIV. Depiction of the extravagance of life at court in the 17th century. Description of elaborate operatic productions.
Rolland Joffe: "It is about appetites of all sorts. It has to do with a cook who is preparing extraordinary meals. We had to reconstitute a kitchen of that era, and rediscover recipes of Versailles. The king would have feasts for 3,500 people in open air, and the kitchen staff would walk five miles in the process of preparing the food."

Background Information

The 17th Century in France, Louis XIV and Life at the Court of Versailles


Roland Joffé 

Main Actors

Gérard Depardieu, Uma Thurman




115 min


Cesar for Best Production Design


1. Name four traits of character of Vatel
2. Name three traits of character of the Prince of Condé, his employer
3. Name three traits of character of Anne de Montlausier, the King's mistress
4. Name three traits of character of Lauzun
5. Describe life at court in the 17th century
6. Why did this movie receive the top prize for "Production Design"
7. Which characters in the story are fixed, unchanging?  
8. Which characters evolve, change in the course of the film?
9. What are the official and the secret reasons for Vatel's suicide?

Related websites

Review of the movie
Chantilly Castle
100 pictures of Versailles Castle

Website designed and maintained by Barbara Vigano, Prof. emeritus of French, Mt. San Antonio College