Bad Boys for Life
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Rohmer's take of the legend of king arthur & the knights of the round table
Eric Rohmer creates a very theatrical and stylized film about the travels of Perceval, a young Arthurian knight. The film wavered between being amusing and being intolerable.
Perceval is a tad too self reflexive for my tastes. Too much of characters referring to each other in the third person and narrating their actions as they do them, too much blank faced acting and an overly stylized mise-en-scene to the point of ridiculousness. It's a slow film and feels like too much attention was paid to certain details at the expense of others, ie. there are shadows on the backdrops at points. Perceval has it's moments, and is an interesting cultural artifact, but with a two and a half hour run time is extremely tedious to sit through.
This is probably the most medieval film ever produced. Director Eric Rohmer translated the original work by Chretien de Troyes, a XIIth century French poet, and had the actors deliver the lines in a rather antiquated French. The narration is sung by minstrels accompanied by medieval instruments, or told by background characters, and sometimes even by the main characters themselves (who, for instance, will say: "He tells him the reason" instead of actually telling the reason.)
The whole film is shot on a very small set, almost a theater stage, with a few stylised trees, painted horizons, a few disproportionately small castles (as in medieval illuminations) and a few simple interiors.
The story itself is poorly structured by modern standards, like the original itself, probably, being interrupted by a side-story about another knight, itself left unresolved, and a short passion play in which Luchini himself is crucified.
I first saw this film about thirty years ago on French television and really enjoyed it. It was a real pleasure to see it again after all these years, all the more so as, having become a traditional Catholic in the meantime, I knew what the bleeding spear and the Grail were about, and I could even understand most of the unsubtitled latin of the passion play.
The film's greatest achievement is to treat the material with the utmost respect, resisting any temptation to sneer at its naivete, values (especially piety) or esthetics.
Having also greatly enjoyed Rohmer's "The Lady and the Duke", a visually innovative recreation of the French Revolution, I am curious to discover whether he has made other interesting films of the same caliber.
A very strange adaptation of a medieval poem. Completely artificial in its set-up; so much so that Rohmer is surely commenting on productions in general. The problem is not necessarily that the text isn't focused on battles (it has witty asides to dismiss them), but that the story in its effort to portray some sort of journey of Perceval, undercuts itself regularly--most egregiously for me when it abandons his story for a time completely (just when it's getting interesting) to follow Gawain.
Eric Rhomer n'est sans doute pas l'auteur le plus captivant ni le plus facile d'accÃ¨s, sauf peut-etre pour la menagere de 40 ans qui aime regarder "Plus belle la vie". Pourtant, il est indeniable que nous sommes ici en presence d'une veritable recherche formelle et d'une tentative de restituer cinematographiquement le recit de Perceval le Gallois tel que ChrÃ©tien de Troyes l'ecrivit. De tres jolies musiques de style feodale, des acteurs convaincants, une oeuvre particuliere mais plaisante.
A slow embalming of Chretien de Troyes' wonderful romance. The film has considerable visual appeal; the characters seem to be walking through the illuminations of a Gothic manuscript. Medieval music is used reverently - probably too reverently. Fabrice Luchini was a terrible choice for the title role.
A strange, hypnotic live-action realization of a Medieval manuscript, this movie had me mesmerized. Not for everyone, but those who know music and literature from the time will be astonished. It is Chretien de Troyes' masterpiece come to life.
Definitely non-filmic acting (non-filmic in many other areas as well) ... most likely a Brechtian impulse. I really enjoyed the glorious medieval singing. Entrancing, and upon further reflection, raucously weird.
Epic Musical Drama - Rohmer Style.