Sunday, February 5, 2012
Obscure French Shouty Men in Shiny Armour
In 1978, French auteur Eric Rohmer, best known for his 1960s morality plays like Pauline at the Beach, released one of the oddest and most hypnotically fascinating films I have ever seen. It was inspired by perhaps one of the granddaddies of all epic fantasy literature, Chrétien de Troyes' 12th century Arthurian romance Perceval, the Story of the Grail, which alone makes it a must-include for this blog. But this is not some big loud crashy bombastic free-for-all like, say, Excalibur. No: this film is straight out of Jesse L. Weston, restoring the ritual character to Arthurian legend and the theater. Lines are chanted as much as delivered; movements, too, are often stylized (but not, as you see, in the fight scenes).
The result is a film as puzzling and intriguing as the Grail legend itself. If you haven't seen it, get your hands on a copy of the DVD right away!