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Lancelot du Lac [DVD]
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Winner of the International Critics' Prize at Cannes in 1974, Bresson's masterpiece has lost none of its power and continues to cast a mystical spell. In this compelling and hypnotic film about the Arthurian legend, the Knights of the Round Table, their numbers depleted by their bloody and fruitless quest for the Holy Grail, return to King Arthur's court. Once there, Lancelot's passionate relationship with Queen Guinevere causes the Knights to fall out amongst themselves, eventually leading to their downfall. 'Lancelot du Lac' is a unique and compelling vision of the Knights of the Round Table from one of the cinema's foremost artists.
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Top Customer Reviews
The core of the film is the return of Lancelot and how this causes conflicts between the knights for and against him, and a moral conflict where Lancelot must decide if he's going to take Guinevere away from king Arthur. It gets quite suspenseful and dramatic, despite the lack of special effects. I like how battles are barely shown: in the tournament we see mostly glimpses of lances and knights repeatedly falling to the ground, and other times we are just shown a short glimpse of a knight with blood flowing from the throat.
What I lack in this DVD from AE is extra material (there are none). But considering the excellent transfer and a price under 10GBP it is great value for money anyway. If you're into Bresson or cinema in general, this is a must buy. If you're more into Hollywood films like Robin Hood you may watch this as an interesting alternative way of telling a story.
It's been two years since Arthur sent his knights on a quest for the Holy Grail. Now, exhausted, defeated, at odds with each other, their numbers severely reduced by disease and fighting, the remnants have returned. Lancelot saw in a dream that he must renounce his love for Arthur's queen, but Guinevere will have none of that. Mordred lurks in the shadows, hinting and insinuating. Before long, the knights have chosen sides. A few will stand with Lancelot in defense of Guinevere. The rest will stand...not with Arthur, but with Mordred.
Bresson has taken the Arthurian legend and turned it into a tale of hopeless pessimism. If you don't care for spoilers, read no further. How hopeless? Nearly everyone dies except Guinevere.Read more ›
At the centre of this film stands the love between Guinevere and Lancelot, sublimely represented in the film: Guinevere waits for Lancelot's return in silence, and suffers for her love of him. Lancelot has come to the point where he tries to resist this love, for the sake of chivalry, but it is interesting to see the way in which he fails in his attempt to relinquish Guinevere.
I dare say this film is essential for anyone seriously interested in the Arthurian legend, and for anyone who has a clear understanding that the latter is not romance Hollywood style, but much darker. This is definitely not a film for everyone. There is a lot of blood and violence in the film, its atmosphere is dark, the dialogue is designedly monotonous, to match the sombre mood of the film, and there is no musical score throughout, except a very little in the beginning and end. It is exquisite in that it tells the story of a great love, accompanied by great suffering, and in that it demystifies any romantic notions we might have had about Arthur and his knights, as seen in other films of the genre. The austerity of the interiors also does away with our romantic illusions.
The acting is amazing, and I identified with the actor playing Guinevere in particular. The last scene of the movie, in which Lancelot, dying, says only one word: "Guinevre" (French version of Guinevere), stays with the viewer forever.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is the worst film I have seen so far: It is artistic pretentious crap. The clanking tin sound in every scene becomes comical after the first 2 minutes. Read morePublished 23 months ago by MR ANTHONY KNOWLES
Lancelot du Lac (1974) was Robert Bresson's 11th feature film and only his third in color. Though it came out to almost universal critical acclaim, it is now one of his most... Read morePublished on 4 July 2014 by Film Buff
With this 1974 stripped-down tale of Arthurian knight, Sir Lancelot (du Lac), Robert Bresson casts his inimitable spell (pretty much literally) over the subject, in the process... Read morePublished on 9 Dec. 2013 by Keith M
As I've become something of a fan of French cinema I was expecting more; mainly this is just plain dull with semi robotic performances and uninspired camera work. Read morePublished on 3 Aug. 2013 by lawrence_of_london
The most clunky (literally) film I have ever seen. The characters all look bored and clank around in their armour from scene to scene, looking like they wished it was all over. Read morePublished on 13 April 2013 by Addiscombe home
I've bought many wonderful films via amazon.co.uk but this very dull film is certainly not among them. Read morePublished on 21 Nov. 2012 by John Kendle, Australia
I am a fan of most of Bressons movies but this is one I could not take too seriously. Some of the scenes with zombie like characters plodding around in armour appear so bizzare to... Read morePublished on 28 Oct. 2011 by Paul Pirongs
Set after the failure of the quest for the Holy Grail, the surviving knights of Arthur's legendary round table, return in defeat to their King. Read morePublished on 16 May 2011 by The CinemaScope Cat
Bresson and Knights of the Round Table? Wait a minute, am I imaging things? As improbable as it seems for this director to take on such a subject, what he does with it is no... Read morePublished on 29 Mar. 2009 by W. Hamilton