Rohmer's adaptation of Chrétien de Troyes 12th century Arthurian poem is a unique film, combining cinema, theatre, medieval music, iconography, mime and verse to create a stylised and surprisingly coherent spectacle: shot totally in the studio, its sets alone are worth the price of a ticket. But more astonishing, perhaps, is the way in which Rohmer translates the text into a moral investigation which frequently resembles his contemporary comedies as selfish young innocent Perceval, whose very naiveté literally disarms his enemies, undergoes a sentimental education in the codes of Chivalry, Courtship, and Faith. His odyssey is observed with ironic wit and revealing distance; not surprisingly for Rohmer, a key stage in his development occurs when he learns the dangers of talking too much or too little. Far more accessible and entertaining than Bresson's Lancelot du Lac or Syberberg's Parsifal, and relevant in a sense undreamed of by Excalibur, the film marries medieval passion with modern perspective and sires its own special magic.
Cast and crew