A LIT­TLE CHAOS

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For his sec­ond di­rec­to­rial ef­fort, Alan Rick­man has taken as his sub­ject mat­ter the con­struc­tion of the el­e­gant gar­dens at Ver­sailles, and, tucked away within that ex­trav­a­gance, the lit­tle fan­tasy set­ting of an out­door ball­room. An open­ing ti­tle card tells us, “In what fol­lows, that much at least is true.” Sabine De Barra (Kate Winslet) is the un­likely win­ner of a de­sign com­pe­ti­tion for the sub­con­tract­ing of that ball­room from King Louis XIV’s great land­scape ar­chi­tect, An­dré Le Nôtre (Matthias Schoe­naerts). There’s ro­mance, sabotage, skull­dug­gery, wit, strug­gle, and even­tual tri­umph for De Barra. Rick­man, who makes up a part of his own ex­cel­lent cast as Louis, takes great plea­sure in the ma­te­rial, and lets us share that plea­sure. Rated R. 118 min­utes. Cen­ter for Con­tem­po­rary Arts. (Jonathan Richards)

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