Lancelot of the Lake
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At the centre of this film stands the love between Guinevere and Lancelot, sublimely represented in the film: Guinevere waits for Lancelot's return in silence, and suffers for her love of him. Lancelot has come to the point where he tries to resist this love, for the sake of chivalry, but it is interesting to see the way in which he fails in his attempt to relinquish Guinevere.
I dare say this film is essential for anyone seriously interested in the Arthurian legend, and for anyone who has a clear understanding that the latter is not romance Hollywood style, but much darker. This is definitely not a film for everyone. There is a lot of blood and violence in the film, its atmosphere is dark, the dialogue is designedly monotonous, to match the sombre mood of the film, and there is no musical score throughout, except a very little in the beginning and end. It is exquisite in that it tells the story of a great love, accompanied by great suffering, and in that it demystifies any romantic notions we might have had about Arthur and his knights, as seen in other films of the genre. The austerity of the interiors also does away with our romantic illusions.
The acting is amazing, and I identified with the actor playing Guinevere in particular. The last scene of the movie, in which Lancelot, dying, says only one word: "Guinevre" (French version of Guinevere), stays with the viewer forever.
It's been two years since Arthur sent his knights on a quest for the Holy Grail. Now, exhausted, defeated, at odds with each other, their numbers severely reduced by disease and fighting, the remnants have returned. Lancelot saw in a dream that he must renounce his love for Arthur's queen, but Guinevere will have none of that. Mordred lurks in the shadows, hinting and insinuating. Before long, the knights have chosen sides. A few will stand with Lancelot in defense of Guinevere. The rest will stand...not with Arthur, but with Mordred.
Bresson has taken the Arthurian legend and turned it into a tale of hopeless pessimism. If you don't care for spoilers, read no further. How hopeless? Nearly everyone dies except Guinevere.Read more ›
The film begins with the information that "The Grail has not been found" and ends with a single word and image that implode a whole universe of myth.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Lancelot du Lac (1974) was Robert Bresson's 11th feature film and only his third in color. Though it came out to almost universal critical acclaim, it is now one of his most... Read morePublished 22 months ago by Film Buff
As a film teacher, a lifelong student of great cinema, and a fan of Bresson's work, I can't help but declare this to be surely Bresson's worst. Read morePublished on April 9, 2012 by Robert Blenheim
This is the grand Arthurian legend as told by a minimalistic French modernist who is completely fed up with the world and it's values and recoils in horror at modernity and plunges... Read morePublished on October 29, 2009 by dv_forever
I don't think this is the worst film ever - but it comes close. I think R. Bresson is one of the greatest filmmakers ever - "The Pickpocet" is one of my favorite films - Joan of... Read morePublished on October 8, 2009 by S. Kjaersdalen
Other reviewers have said it better than I can (the one star reviewers that is.) This is the benchmark that one can judge all horrible flicks against. Read morePublished on September 7, 2008 by Manos
I'm not sure what to make of the reviews in praise of this film. They reviewers are clearly not fans of Arthurian mythos or historical films either. Read morePublished on June 6, 2006 by Andrew D. Leitch
Anyone who can call this piece of Fench rubbish a 'masterpiece' is obviously caught up in that delusional mindset of Art moives having to be stripped of everything to make them... Read morePublished on December 31, 2005 by Alex Wilson
Robert Bresson is one of the most methodic directors of French cinema. In a way like Godard, you will either love his movies or find them a bit too intellectual - sometimes lacking... Read morePublished on April 12, 2005 by Stalwart Kreinblaster
French director Robert Bresson crafts this grim, anti-romantic, and super-artsy, somewhat low-budget deconstruction of the Arthurian legend. Read morePublished on February 19, 2005 by DJ Joe Sixpack
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