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Lancelot of the Lake
     

Lancelot of the Lake

Director: Robert Bresson

Cast: Luc Simon, Humbert Balsan, Vladmir Antolek-Oresk

 
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

Overview

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 sympathetic terms. Expectedly, the dream of "Camelot" is dashed to bits; Bresson argues that Camelot was never any more than a dream--or rather, a delusion. The mudcaked cinematography of Pasqualino de Santis adds to the iconoclastic flavor of Lancelot of the Lake.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 sympathetic terms. Expectedly, the dream of "Camelot" is dashed to bits; Bresson argues that Camelot was never any more than a dream--or rather, a delusion. The mudcaked cinematography of Pasqualino de Santis adds to the iconoclastic flavor of Lancelot of the Lake.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Robert Bresson's cast speaks their lines in flat tones, never acknowledging the overpowering emotions that lie in their words; while occasionally off-putting, this extreme underplaying adds weight to their speeches and, at the same time, emphasizes the disease of the soul that is bringing about the fall of Camelot. Bresson also emphasizes the confusion and turmoil these men feel in the way in which he captures them on film. The camera lingers on feet and legs (of both men and horses), creating a sense of confusion in the viewer as he tries to identify the figure on the screen. This also visually captures the idea that these characters are torn between the ideals of chivalry (as evidenced by their armor) and the weakness of their own humanity (as evidenced by the un-armored backs of their legs). Surprisingly, despite the weariness that pervades the film, the viewer watches the proceedings with an intensity and avid interest. Bresson's artistry and obvious personal involvement makes this melancholy exploration of inevitability engrossing and deeply affecting.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/25/2004
UPC:
0717119174446
Original Release:
1974
Rating:
NR
Source:
New Yorker Video
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[Dolby Digital Stereo]
Time:
1:20:00

Special Features

Scene selections; Theatrical trailer

Cast & Crew

Scene Index

Side #1 --
   Feature
   Scenes
   Subtitles
      English
      No Subtitles
   Trailer
   New Yorker Films
      Underground: Play Trailer
      The Eel: Play Trailer
      The Wind Will Carry Us: Play Trailer
      Beau Travail: Play Trailer

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