Lancelot du lac
Posted 21 July 2005 - 11:25 AM
Posted 21 July 2005 - 11:38 AM
Posted 13 November 2005 - 12:11 PM
Oh, how Bressonian of me.
I'm not familiar with Tennyson's version, but in another Bresson film, Une Femme Douce, a character complains about the overacting in a performance of Hamlet and then rushes home and compares it to the text, triumphantly pointing out a passage the performance had omitted: "Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue. But if you mouth it, as many of our players do, I had as lief the town crier spoke my lines."
Very interesting. Bresson had actually wanted to film Lancelot for 15 years, too; it was a project he nursed along and found very personal. I love the way the suits of armor in the film come across as dehumanizing and clumsy, too (another point of comparison to Monty Python and the Holy Grail !); their constant scraping and clanging throughout the film, the rhythm of the visors being lifted and closed for lines of dialogue, the way they eventually pile up together like a heap discarded metal. Bresson uses the armor to further deglamorizes the myth, rather than, say, as John Boorman did, to celebrate its shiny triumphantism.
Your description of Lancelot and Guinevere's relationship ("the struggle between desire and purer desire") in the film is very insightful. From their first scene together, the film depicts their relationship as a debilitating noose and yet both characters remain tragically sympathetic without their situation being romanticized. It's a fine balancng act that Bresson's "plain" style obscures. But I'm not sure what you mean in regards to Lancelot's age difference...?
"The painter recognizes in medieval illumination the very form of his art. Doesn't illumination, like Bresson, excel in signifying, in arousing more by less? Through the elimination, the conciseness, and elliptical violence customary with him, Bresson revives in its physical status a culture and an obscure world that is manipulated by mystery and the invisible . . . Bresson insists on flattening [the usual] marvelous quest, with its lyrical combats and adventurous challenges, into exercizes, ritual, interior debate, and exalted gesture, almost formalities. [In his study, Keith Reader suggests Bresson's models seem to quote their lines rather than speak them.] Here this formalism is inspired, since it blends with the fundamental formalism of chivalry. . . . A game of chess and a tournament--indeed, the entire film, is conceived as an ordered and moral game, a bullfight, a judgment of God."
A lot of critics consider Lancelot to be Bresson's most visually beautiful color film, too, in its rich spectrum of reds, browns, and golds.
Posted 13 November 2005 - 05:21 PM
I admire Lancelot quite a bit, but if I have any reservations about it, they're precisely over the aspect suggested by the quote that you most like. There's been some discussion on the Pickpocket thread about the question of freedom, fate, chance, and Providence, and Lancelot feels to me like fate has taken over and there is little room for freedom, or even Providence or chance.
"Some force is manipulating us. Arthur cannot govern it." I like everything here except the word "manipulating." I don't like the idea of fate, God or Providence being seen as "manipulating" our lives. That word has resonances that evoke puppets on strings, or dupes tricked without their consent or even against their will into a position not of their own choosing.
Some commentators have compared the clanking armored knights battling to the end in the final scene to robots blindly pursuing their preprogrammed course. I would be happy to have a reason to quarrel with this interpretation.
Incidentally, while I agree with you about the awkward Pythonesque quality of the opening duel, I'm not sure Bresson could have filmed that scene any differently, and that perhaps points to the way he jostles in this film against the outer limits of what is possible in his style.
At the same time, I'm also reminded of another French 1970s Arthurian film that much more fully embraces what could be called a non-comic Monty Python approach, to much greater success (in this respect): Rohmer's Perceval le Gallois. If you haven't seen it, I recommend it; it's quite charming.
Posted 14 November 2005 - 11:13 AM
But...technically speaking, the actress who plays Guinevere is probably too young to have married Arthur, had the affair, and lived through all the exploits of the quest for the Grail. It's definitely artistic license.
"The queen instructs [Lancelot]: 'Take this forbidden body'--a phrase with sacriligeous overtones of the Last Supper, and thus of the Grail whose vain quest has brought the Arthurian world to the brink of despair. It is that forbidden body--sensual, sexual, in a word, corporeal--that she passionately asserts in the love scene when, spied upon by Mordred, she exhorts Lancelot: 'Hold me, I am not a ghost.' This reinstatement of a body proscribed finds its necessary consequence and counterpart in the bodies butchered at the end, 'ghosts' if ever there were."
Edited by Doug C, 14 November 2005 - 01:41 PM.
Posted 31 March 2012 - 07:44 PM
Posted 01 April 2012 - 11:39 AM
Posted 01 April 2012 - 11:58 AM
Posted 07 May 2012 - 02:08 PM
- 0:00 â€“ Show intro. Who is Robert Bresson?
- 4:43 â€“ Bressonâ€™s style: acting, visual style, and sound
- 8:28 â€“ Editing and elliptical narration
- 15:44 â€“ Defamiliarization and a tale thatâ€™s been often told
- 20:22 â€“ Confusion and doubt as a motif
- 25:55 â€“ Historical romances as comments on the present age
- 30:51 â€“ Questioning assumptions and filling in gaps
- 37:00 â€“ Exit comments
Posted 07 May 2012 - 06:03 PM
I wanted that Quandt anthology but didn't want to spend $40 on it at the National Gallery of Art gift shop. I was hoping the library would have a copy, but nope.