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Medieval film' forces us into a double-take on chronology. This book argues that such a playful confusion of temporalities is a fundamental characteristic not just of the term but also of medieval films themselves. Medieval films reflect on the fact that they make present a past that was never filmable and offer alternatives to chronological conceptions of time. The book examines the contrasting uses, or non-uses, of medieval art objects in two medieval films and assesses how they contribute to the films' overall authenticity-effects. It makes tentative contribution to a list of such characteristics: that the fragmented visual profile of the medieval makes medieval authenticity-effects particularly troublesome to produce. The reliance of film theory on medievalism has never been acknowledged by film scholars. The book shows the ways in which preconceived notions of the Middle Ages filtered into and were influenced by film theory throughout the twentieth century; and to what extent film theory relies on knowledge about the Middle Ages for its basic principles. It explores to what extent medieval film engages with questions of language, and to what extent these engagements may be distinctive. Cinematic medievalism participated in and drew on a wider cultural and political preoccupation with the Middle Ages. Romanticism posited the Middle Ages as an alternative, utopian realm promising creative and political possibility. The book argues that certain films with medieval themes and settings, mostly dating from the 1940s to the 1960s, demonstrate a surprising affinity with the themes and techniques associated with film noir.

Timing The Birth of a Nation
Anke Bernau

As well as causing political controversy from the moment of its release, D. W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation (1915) was hailed as a milestone in cinema history. Endorsed on a political level by President Woodrow Wilson – whose scholarship on the American Civil War was explicitly referenced in the film’s intertitles – it was also praised by film critics and viewers

in Medieval film
Marcia Landy

critique. This chapter focuses on a select group of films set in Middle Ages, produced in Italy at two moments of dramatic transformation in Italian culture and politics – the Fascist era during the 1930s and early 1940s and the epoch of the ‘Economic Miracle’ in the 1960s. Luis Trenker’s Condottieri (1936), a biographical or adventure film, was made during the peak of power for the Italian Fascist

in Medieval film
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Weaving around the Bayeux Tapestry and cinema in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and El Cid
Richard Burt

. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves has been chided both for its anachronistic political correctness and for its neo-colonialism; and two critics have linked it to the Gulf War. 6 Production of the film began a month after Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990, and it was released a few months after the US declared victory. A close reading of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves ’s opening title sequence

in Medieval film
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The a-chronology of medieval film
Bettina Bildhauer and Anke Bernau

medieval cinema as ahistorical – more interested in analogies to the present than in historical causality – and in his negative evaluation of this. Susan Aronstein, Roberta Davidson and Kathleen Coyne Kelly, for example, have all recently argued that medieval films are more often than not indicative of a conservative outlook, with medieval analogies confirming traditional political ideals like democracy and

in Medieval film
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Anatomy of a metaphor
John M. Ganim

unlikely cross-pollination, one which inflects certain medieval movies with an unsettling modernity, and which raises questions about the relation of the present to the past and about the aesthetic and political uses of an ostensibly faraway time and place. Because of their settings in faraway lands and past times, medieval movies are often stereotyped as escapist. When they are seriously treated as a form

in Medieval film
Linguistic difference and cinematic medievalism
Carol O’Sullivan

translated (or improvised) in the foreign language, mirroring the fact that the preoccupations of medieval film – as with historical film in general – tend to be not the historical vicissitudes of the past but the narrative, representational and/or political concerns of the present. 28 ‘This outrageous accent’: Monty Python and the abusive subtitles Perhaps one of the most

in Medieval film
A paradox
Sarah Salih

’s Tale (2001). We know the medieval, through its extant material culture, in the form of fragments. In Britain the period is distanced by the political upheaval of the Reformation and its material consequences. Margaret Aston argues that the presence of the ruins of former monastic buildings throughout British landscapes following the Dissolution produced a ‘visible rupture with the past’ through which

in Medieval film
Andrew Higson

queen. As I have demonstrated elsewhere, Elizabeth is an interesting example of the generically hybrid film, which was carefully packaged to draw in both the audience for the more tasteful and genteel costume dramas, and those audiences who sought out the attractions of the historical adventure or the political thriller. 11 The film thus blends the two traditions, both the woman’s picture and the

in Medieval film
Alison Tara Walker

, focused on ‘avoid[ing] lyrics dealing with romance or sexual prowess, opting instead to address big philosophical issues such as religion and spirituality, politics and power, the forward march of technology, and existential angst … and in some cases even an attempt to raise rock music to the level of classical music’. 21 For example Alan Parsons based his band’s first album, Tales of Mystery and

in Medieval film