Lancelot of the Lake (1974)
Average Rating: 8.3/10
Reviews Counted: 16
Fresh: 15 | Rotten: 1
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Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 3
Fresh: 2 | Rotten: 1
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 1,241
As with his earlier Trial of Joan of Arc, French-filmmaker Robert Bresson effectively casts unknowns in his interpretation of the Knights of the Round Table saga. Breaking with the standard romantic spin on this legend, Bresson offers us a selfish, ruthless Lancelot, no better than the other grubby "nobles" who seek but fail to find the Holy Grail. Returning from his futile mission, Lancelot callously renews his affair with King Arthur's Guenevere, who likewise is depicted in less than
Jan 1, 1974 Limited
May 25, 2004
It's stunningly beautiful, mesmerising, exhausting, uplifting, amazing -- all the things you could possibly expect from a masterpiece.
It belongs with Pickpocket and Au hasard Balthazar at the highest level of Bresson's achievement.
Bresson's stripped-to-the-bone adaptation eschews the traditionally heroic, spectacular, fabulous, and exaltedly romantic aspects of the legendary saga in order to lay bare the confusion and pain within the human soul.
It's often characterized as a 'despairing' film in Bresson's late oeuvre, but in fact, it's an elegiac lamentation...beautifully rendered in loving, rhythmic care.
Cuts to the heart of the Arthurian tragedy strips away the early grandeur of Camelot, leaving only the demoralized foundering in the wake of the failed Grail quest.
Bresson strips away frippery to such an extent that it should be a coma-inducing slog, but it's not.
It has a magnificence that creeps out a little at a time, especially over repeated viewings.
Even with a well-known story as its backdrop, it is only upon the third or fourth viewing that one can even begin to contemplate the larger questions at work in the film.
One suspects that Bresson wanted to interpret Arthurian legend in a way that would emphasize its petty emotions and physicalities.
Having seen Bresson's filmography in full (including this film twice), I'm convinced that Lancelot of the Lake is on par with his very best and most transcendent work.
Bresson's knights are wanderers in the forest whose every move reverberates with the clang of chain mail.
Audience Reviews for Lancelot of the Lake
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- Lancelot, Ritter der Königin (DE)
- Lancelot of the Lake (Lancelot Du Lac) (UK)