the chivalry movie on time #metoo


At 83 years old, Ridley Scott, monument of contemporary popular cinema, inventor of some great modern myths (Alien, Blade Runner), talent trying out all genres, does not deter. Feverishly awaiting a House of Gucci which arrives on November 24 on our screens – Lady Gaga, Al Pacino, Adam Driver are on the program of this adaptation of a bloody news item – this devil of English delivers us today a film of chivalry brought back to the time of the #metoo clock.

We knew, from the thunderous Thelma and Louise (1991), the director sensitive to the cause of female emancipation. Adapting the eponymous work of the American medievalist Eric Jager, Scott is interested here in a historical fact: one of the last legal duels authorized by the king of France Charles VI in 1386, between two Normans, the knight Jean de Carrouges and the squire Jacques Le Gris, the second being accused by the wife of the first of having raped her in the absence of her husband gone to war. Protected by Count Pierre d’Alençon, cousin of the king, Le Gris enjoys insolent impunity. Carrouges, to do justice to his wife, appeals to the Parliament of Paris and to the king to provoke him in this judicial duel, an ordeal procedure in which the vanquished, defeated by God by means of arms, is considered perjury.

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In doing so, Scott returns to his film debut, inaugurated in 1977 by The Duelists. Harvey Keitel and Keith Carradine camp there, under the Empire, two French officers whose inveterate hatred will push to fight blindly throughout their lives. It’s the same pattern of obtuse stupidity, of the misguided sense of honor, of morbid virility that works The Last Duel. First friends, the two men then entwine in an endless rivalry. Because everything opposes them in truth. Carrouges (Matt Damon) is a warrior, a man of integrity, proud of his name, his fiefdom and his valor, who is not of temperament to forgive the offenses. The Gray (Adam Driver) is a courtier, a scholar, a seducer, who has won the friendship of Pierre d’Alençon, their lord, and who does not hesitate to take advantage of this protection to strip his friend of some of his prerogatives, in particular by depriving him of his hereditary fiefdom.

Battlefield and alcove

Carrouges, a frontal man, a poor maneuver, rebelled, and ended up alienating the entire court. Even so, as the years went by, he used violence to reconcile himself with his adversary, Le Gris, in his insignificant perversity, then raped his wife, the beautiful and faithful Marguerite de Thibouville (Jodie Comer), while the husband was left to fight in Scotland for the king’s cause. It is, moreover, the whole film which is built on the alternation of the battlefield and the alcove, one responding to the other and vice versa. Battles and duels, frightful sounds and fragmented images, are rendered there like butcher’s shops where barbarians with low foreheads are dismantled with bloody splashes. The residences, the courtyard, the conjugal beds, under the varnish of civilization, echo silently, given as phallocratic dens of debauchery, cynicism and male domination.

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