Thursday, July 28, 2022

My reaction to The Last Duel (2021)

I finally got a chance to see last year's The Last Duel, by my favorite poster and director, Ridley Scott. Some of my friends were less than enthusiastic when the movie came out, but I found it based on a credible reconstruction of 14th century French culture. A few "for-instances" show: the extremely strong desire to maintain one's honor; excellent interiors; the fact that different people speak different languages in different contexts; and so forth. What I respect most about this movie is that many details are included that only the most persnickety re-enactor or medieval archaeologist would notice Yet here they are, casting a glamor of reality over the whole drama.

My own work on duels and deeds of arms has a curious connection with the movie The Last Duel and the preceeding book of the sameby Eric Jager. Around the turn of the millenium I became aware of Jager's work. Frankly, I wasn't all that impressed -- at least, not until I found out that major Hollywood studios seemed to be showing an interest in making movies based on medieval deeds of arms. One day I got a call from a studio asking whether I knew of a translation of the account of the Combat of the Thirty. That was the end -- because at this early stage of my research I had not found the sources for the Combat.

,,> AnywaY, I have found my interests, if no movie. Congratulations to Professor Jager -- and my gratitude for inspiring, in part, my decision to be a little more bold.

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