Medieval Movie Roundup

Back in March, I wrote about a list of films with a medieval context.  Here are reviews of the ones we watched, our favorites listed first.

A Knights Tale

This was the last one we watched and, hands down, the favorite of the males of the house.  It corresponded with our reading of the Canterbury Tales.  It is goofy, predictable, and anachronistic (the opening scene has medieval crowds doing the pound-pound-clap to Queen’s We Will Rock Them).  But it was fun and funny.  Chaucer is a clever character we meet walking down a path buck naked (from the back) because he has gambled his clothes away.  Brief nakedness and all, it was one of only two movies which did not require fast forwarding through scenes.  Guys and gals will enjoy this. ☺☺☺☺☻

Ran

(pronounced ron or rahn)  This is King Lear in a Japanese context.  It is a big movie, epic, and captivating.  If you have read King Lear you must watch this.  If you haven’t read King Lear, you’d learn the story in a beautiful setting.  Like most of the movies on this list, the pace is slow.  There were some incredible horses galloping down the mountain sequences that almost match the scope of LOTR.  We FF through one scene. I recommend this for drama, cinematography, acting, and exposure to medieval Japanese culture. ☺☺☺☺☻

The Name of the Rose

Sean Connery, a period piece, a mystery…this was a stark, beautiful movie.  I had read Umberto Eco’s book a few summers back so I knew what to expect.  It may be harder to comprehend without that background.  I was very grateful for the tip to FF through a kitchen scene.  My trigger finger was ready.  It appeared without much warning.  Besides that, some viewers might not want to see dead bodies in vats of liquid or at the bottom of a cliff.  There are several dead bodies in this mystery.  ☺☺☺☻☻

The Seventh Seal

The cinematography in Ingmar bergman’s 1957 film reminded me of an Ansel Adams photograph.  Not just because they are both black and white: the play of light and shadow, the focus of the camera let you know a master was behind the lens.  You must be a patient viewer to get through this snail pace, contemplative film.  A bogus miracle worker has some funny lines, i.e.  “Whichever way we turn, our backside’s behind us.”  In one sense I was glad to have watched this just because it is a classic.  ☺☺☺☻☻

Black Robe

This movie combined highly excellent and ghastly elements together.  I could not recommend it.  The cinematography and music are glorious.  Sweeping vistas and  long distance river shots with full orchestra scores provided moments of sublime pleasure.  But it was not worth all the other stuff you had to wade through. Every time the camera was inside a tepee was reason to FF.  And the message of the movie bothered me.  The missionary was a bungling, ignorant fool.  The mission was a failure.  The final scene of death and misery seemed to underline a hopeless, nihilistic scorn.  ☺☻☻☻☻

3 thoughts on “Medieval Movie Roundup

  1. Hi,
    We will begin the medieval period in just a few weeks.  Do you have suggestions for this period for the  younger crowd? ( Gracen is 8.)  We are looking forward to this study!

  2. WE love the Knight’s Tale (especially the closing dance scene). I love her fashion sense. As a Canterbury junky I just loved this twist. Thanks for the good reviews and the “heads up” advice. I hate having the shock of  leaping for the remote.

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