Abstract only

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.

Alison Tara Walker

Even though studies of medieval films include articles, books and entire conferences, critics tend to be silent on the subject of music in films about the medieval period, even though music is a conventional part of narrative cinema. Films use their soundtracks to engage audiences’ emotional responses, to sell CDs and to provide a musical counterpoint to the images on screen. This chapter highlights

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

This volume aims not to collect studies on individual medieval films but to characterise medieval film. ‘Medieval film’ – the term forces us into a double-take on chronology. Theoretically, it could refer to both films from the Middle Ages and films about the Middle Ages; and it takes a second to work out that the first, intuitive option is (of course) an impossibility. This book

in Medieval film
A paradox
Sarah Salih

medieval films. 8 Although authenticity may not be a reasonable criterion to apply to historical film, academics and audiences continue to register the failure or absence of authenticity effects, those conventions of representing the past which, though arbitrary, are established signifiers of period. As Jonathan Rosenbaum says: ‘It doesn’t matter if the historical details of the film are authentic. They

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

the co-existence of languages, particularly Latin and the vernaculars, in medieval society; and, above all, in relation to the widespread cinematic depiction of the Middle Ages as a time of high mobility and intercultural contact. The present chapter will explore to what extent medieval film engages with questions of language, and to what extent these engagements may be distinctive. 2 Three principal

in Medieval film
Abstract only
Anatomy of a metaphor
John M. Ganim

post-Second World War world and informed noir . The arbitrary sense of order and justice in these films parallels the cynical attitude towards authority and due process found in noir films. The recurrent concern with religious and moral investigation in these medieval films often results in an existential perspective shared by film noir . Certain techniques of noir lighting and sets were employed

in Medieval film
Andrew Higson

address its target consumers, what it can and cannot say, the ingredients that are assumed to be attractive and acceptable in terms of style, theme and subject matter. Another key concern will be the various claims made about the historical authenticity of the films and the increasing extent to which medieval films adopt a dirty realist style. Finally I will consider the ways in which the films engage

in Medieval film
Film theory’s foundation in medievalism
Bettina Bildhauer

While most chapters in this book are concerned with medieval film in the sense of films about the Middle Ages, this chapter shows that all films have been considered medieval by a surprisingly large number of influential film theorists. The argument they put forward is that film is so radically different and new that it is no longer just part of modern culture, but instead, in an apparent

in Medieval film
Marcia Landy

crociate (Brancaleone at the Crusades, 1969). I have chosen these films for a variety of reasons that will become clear, but particularly because they have been neglected undeservedly. In sheer numbers of films the medieval period was less popular in Italian cinema than classical Rome and the Renaissance. Indeed Gianfranco Miro Gori suggests that only eighteen ‘medievalfilms

in Medieval film
Timing The Birth of a Nation
Anke Bernau

This chapter focuses on a conjunction of contemporary ideas concerning nation, history and race, all of which, participated in popular and academic constructions of the medieval. As well as causing political controversy from the moment of its release, D. W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation 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 alike for its innovative style and use of technology. Cinematic medievalism participated in and drew on a wider cultural and political preoccupation with the Middle Ages. In popular culture the Middle Ages were often imagined in a spectacular mode, a mode they shared with 'historical realism' and cinematic technology.

in Medieval film