I saw SIR GAWAIN AND THE GREEN KNIGHT today at Angers – and what a delightful short film it is! I love how young men and women clad in red, green and gold assemble for a feast amidst candles and dance to music played on historical instruments. I love the light set as if it were only of candles in some scenes.
I adore the symbolism, the rose on the floor where they dance in circles, the grail reference when they fill their chalices with water from the basin in their midst, those elf-like knights and ladies, children of a painted forest – until real, unforgiving nature in form of the Green Knight rides into the hall on horseback and claims its due in form of a challenge. And the Knight of Pentacles – SIRE GAUVAIN (Ernst Umhauer) – must brave many obstacles and learn all about vice and virtue on his journey to the Green Knight’s castle. The only slight irritation – in an otherwise perfect film – was an overload of music at a first hunting scene, music which worked well for the trailer, but here all but eclipsed the cinematography and put a dramatic note where none belongs. For the rest, score, great costumes, marvellous details such as historically accurate blown glass drinking vessels painted a picture worth of any minstrel’s heroic and romantic song. Oh, and the superb acting. Actor Ernst Umhauer here is bewitched by an older woman, quite like he was in DANS LA MAISON, but the true wonder is: I believe every ancient word he seems to quote directly from the 14th century manuscript. And I applaud the filmmakers, director Martin Beilby and producer Vanessa Bertin. Hopefully they’ll turn out a full length feature film soon – preferably with somebody as intense as Ernst Umhauer in the lead role, of course.