Anthology Film Archives


September 19 – September 29


This September brings another chapter of our ongoing MIDDLE AGES ON FILM series, organized in collaboration with medieval scholar Martha Driver, this one focusing on cinematic depictions of King Arthur and the Knights of the Roundtable, with guest appearances from other related figures (including the contemporary knights of George Romero’s KNIGHTRIDERS). Bringing together masterpieces by Robert Bresson and Eric Rohmer, under-appreciated Hollywood spectacles such as THE BLACK KNIGHT and PRINCE VALIANT, and revisionist or satiric works including EXCALIBUR and MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL, this installment of MIDDLE AGES ON FILM continues our exploration of cinema’s encounters with this fascinating era, one that has inspired a wide variety of filmmakers to create some of their most extraordinary films.

“The legends of King Arthur, Guinevere, Morgan le Fay, and the Holy Grail have held our imaginations for more than eight centuries. From brief mention in chronicles and old songs, poets and writers have fashioned one of the greatest epics in all literature, stories so real we still wonder whether Arthur’s court actually existed. These tales provide models of human behavior from the loftiest ideals of chivalry and courtesy to the worse crimes one can commit, including incest, betrayal, and murder. William Caxton, England’s first printer and first publisher of Arthurian stories, introduced his edition of 1485 this way: ‘For herein may be seen noble chivalry, curtosye, humanyte, frendlynesse, hardynesse, love, frendshypp, cowardyse, murder, hate, virtue, and synne. Doo after the good and leve the evyll, and it shall brynge you to good fame.’ The complexity of Arthurian characters continues to fascinate as they are brought to the screen, sometimes in very different guises from their medieval literary ancestors; the ideal of Camelot, the perfect court that ushers in a golden age, remains a noble dream while Arthur lives on in a range of media from texts to stage performances to film, there, at least, truly becoming ‘the once and future king.’” –Martha Driver

Curated in collaboration with Martha Driver, Distinguished Professor of English and Women’s and Gender Studies at Pace University, and the co-editor (with Sid Ray) of THE MEDIEVAL HERO ON SCREEN and SHAKESPEARE AND THE MIDDLE AGES (McFarland & Co.).

Special thanks to Sara Driver; Brian Belovarac (Janus Films); Linda Evans-Smith (WB); Marine Goulois (Les Films du Losange); Harry Guerro; Christopher Lane & Michael Horne (Sony); Sharon Lester (Rainbow Releasing); Lech Majewski; Caitlin Robertson & Joe Reid (20th Century Fox); Delphine Selles-Alvarez & Laura Pertuy (Cultural Services of the French Embassy); and Morgane Toulouse (Gaumont).

Unless otherwise noted, all film descriptions are by Martha Driver.

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