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      Perceval

      Released Oct 8, 1978 2h 20m Drama List
      89% Tomatometer 9 Reviews 67% Audience Score 500+ Ratings After having lost two sons in battle and a husband to grief, Perceval's (Fabrice Luchini) mother does her best to isolate her son from even the idea of chivalry and knighthood. But the young boy reads about knights and their exploits, and cannot help but commit to becoming one. His extreme naiveté and innocence work again and again to his advantage, eventually vouchsafing him both a glimpse of the Holy Grail and a meeting with King Arthur (Marc Eyraud) and the Knights of the Round Table. Read More Read Less

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      Perceval

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      Critics Reviews

      View All (9) Critics Reviews
      Elliott Stein Film Comment Magazine A conservative director's entry into new territory is a priori fascinating; observing him gradually painting himself into a corner of that territory is less so. Rated: 1/4 Dec 12, 2017 Full Review Geoff Andrew Time Out The film marries medieval passion with modern perspective and sires its own special magic. Jun 24, 2006 Full Review Steven D. Greydanus Decent Films The spirit of medieval drama lives in Rohmer's utterly unique, flagrantly theatrical adaptation… will enchant medieval enthusiasts and bewilder others. Rated: B+ Aug 22, 2004 Full Review Emanuel Levy EmanuelLevy.Com Rated: 4/5 Aug 1, 2005 Full Review Philip Martin Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Rated: 3/5 May 13, 2005 Full Review Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat Spirituality & Practice Rated: 4/5 Mar 27, 2004 Full Review Read all reviews

      Audience Reviews

      View All (23) audience reviews
      Audience Member Chivalry is not only a code of manners in war and love, but a system of morality that governs every aspect of noble life, even though much of it comes from fantasy. The theme lends itself well to the form of opera, and I could easily name ten relevant Beijing Opera singings. Rohmer has always had ambitions for historical drama, but somehow it is at the other end of his creative spectrum. Here his use of flat design precludes a sense of reality and exaggerates repetition and ornamentation, but that's about it. The weakest link is the language of the performances, where the actors are reduced to stiffness after the exclusion of natural expression and movement, and they do not find a set of body symbols that work. Secondly, the music is dull and boring. Sense of form is not a problem; I could have been engrossed for two hours the first time I saw a Peking opera; nor should this be over-interpreted, otherwise how would you understand Les Amours d'Astrée et de Céladon? Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 02/08/23 Full Review Audience Member Fascinating, not at all what I expected. I guess I didn't read the reviews very carefully before watching it. I guess I am kind of an Arthurian legends buff at this point, though that excludes the most recent Hollywood adaptations. Anyway, what this is is a very, very cinematically spare rendering of Chrétien de Troyes's romance, complete with incompletion. It was billed as a "moral investigation," perhaps partly of what our modern sensibilities would make of some of the strange elements of the plot. Instead of updating the story or providing a modern, plausible interpretation of the story, it presents much of the original plot, with many of its incongruities in tact, and lets viewers feel bemused or uncomfortable with their own reactions. (I think there have been some adaptations, perhaps stressing uncomfortable innuendo.) It's deeply funny and weird, more watchable than I thought it might be at first when I realized what it was. I recently re-watched Monty Python's take on the holy grail, and there's a way that that fits really well beside Perceval as a 1970s meta-take on Arthurian legend. Python is much more obviously played for laughs, of course, and it is more true to cinematic tropes of the legends; Perceval evokes more bemusement than laughter, and it is more true to one of the original texts. Both are subversive towards any idea of playing these legends straight in the contemporary world, but both also show a clear love for their subject-matter. And the minstrels! I'm not sure that I ever understood what Monty Python was parodying with Sir Robin's minstrels, but Perceval, which was made three years later, almost reads as if someone saw the Monty Python minstrels and decided to lovingly reconstruct a full-on version that is musically much more beautiful and evocative of a medieval flavor, but also deeply weird and tongue-in-cheek in its own way. It's like yes, this is a variation, but the minstrels are still very much in on the joke. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 01/19/23 Full Review Audience Member Rohmer's take of the legend of king arthur & the knights of the round table Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 01/21/23 Full Review Audience Member 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. Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 02/10/23 Full Review Audience Member 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. Rated 2 out of 5 stars 02/06/23 Full Review Audience Member 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. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 02/20/23 Full Review Read all reviews
      Perceval

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      Cast & Crew

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      Movie Info

      Synopsis After having lost two sons in battle and a husband to grief, Perceval's (Fabrice Luchini) mother does her best to isolate her son from even the idea of chivalry and knighthood. But the young boy reads about knights and their exploits, and cannot help but commit to becoming one. His extreme naiveté and innocence work again and again to his advantage, eventually vouchsafing him both a glimpse of the Holy Grail and a meeting with King Arthur (Marc Eyraud) and the Knights of the Round Table.
      Director
      Éric Rohmer
      Producer
      Margaret Ménégoz, Barbet Schroeder
      Screenwriter
      Éric Rohmer
      Genre
      Drama
      Original Language
      French (Canada)
      Release Date (Theaters)
      Oct 8, 1978, Limited
      Release Date (Streaming)
      Jan 22, 2019
      Runtime
      2h 20m
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