The Medieval Filmscape

Reflections of Fear and Desire in a Cinematic Mirror


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About the Book

This book is an attempt at defining the genre of medieval film by describing its features and analyzing its effects and their significance, there being few works presently available that work toward such definition. There are three parts: the introduction enters the medieval film world, describing its typical features and showing how they create a convincing sense of its time; three short chapters discuss authenticity, simplicity and spectacle—the roots of film medievalism; and six longer chapters comment on individual films. Works are discussed that extend the reach of the genre, such as Dreyer’s La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc with its emotional range, or Bergman’s Seventh Seal, which creates a universal symbolism. The author describes what goes into a medieval film and how it affects its audience, while offering suggestions about why its themes are meaningful to us.

About the Author(s)

William F. Woods is the M.V. Hughes Professor of English at Wichita State University in Wichita, Kansas. He lives in Wichita.

Bibliographic Details

William F. Woods
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 212
Bibliographic Info: 24 photos, filmography, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2014
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4651-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1341-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Preface 1

Introduction—Our Lady of Pain: The Subgenre

  of Medieval Film 3


One: Authenticity 23

Two: Simplicity 35

Three: Spectacle 46


Four: The Advocate 59

Five: Northern Light 76

    Bergman, The Seventh Seal 76

    Dreyer, La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc 85

Six: French Arthuriana 94

    Rohmer, Perceval le gallois 94

    Bresson, Lancelot du Lac 104

Seven: The Name of the Rose 116

Eight: The Return of Martin Guerre 135

Nine: Kingdom of Heaven 155

Epilogue 175

Filmography 179

Chapter Notes 181

Bibliography 194

Index 199