Anthology Film Archives


October 25 – October 28


This fall brings two more chapters in our ongoing MIDDLE AGES ON FILM series, organized in collaboration with medieval scholar Martha Driver. First up is a focus on cinematic depictions of medieval Scandinavia, starring…the Vikings!

“The Vikings did not, in fact, wear horned helmets as Yale professor Roberta Frank gleefully explained in 2000. This is one of the many myths about the Northern raiders that have been perpetuated by film, among other influences (like the operas of Richard Wagner). Historically, the Viking raids in England began in 795 with an attack, probably by Norwegians, on the monastery of Lindisfarne (home of the famous Gospels). After them came the Danes who held a large portion of England called the Danelaw; later England was ruled by Danes, and then by the Anglo-Saxons, Germanic tribes who shared the Viking warrior ethos and brought along their language and their law. While the world is still waiting for a good film adaptation of the first great English epic BEOWULF (which features Swedes and Danes as its main characters), the Vikings have been a favorite film subject since 1907. With the exception of ERIK THE VIKING, a satire of the genre directed by Terry Jones, Viking films tend to present Vikings as violent men who rape, pillage and conquer, and qualify as the original ‘blood and guts’ movies.” –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, Danial Brännström (Swedish Film Institute), Chris Chouinard (Park Circus), Justin DiPietro (IFC Films), and Christopher Lane & Michael Horne (Sony).

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