Authenticating Realism in Medieval Film

Authenticating Realism in Medieval Film

By William F. Woods

The Medieval Hero on Screen: Representations from Beowulf to Buffy, edited by Martha W. Driver and Sid Ray (McFarland and Co, 2004)

Introduction: This is an essay about the authenticating features of medieval film, the ways in which we are led to accept the illusion on screen as a convincing version of the medieval world. The focus of the illusion and of this discussion is the medieval film hero. We will begin with an exarnination of the realism of Johan Huizinga’s historical narrative and its close cousin, cinematic medievalism, which attracts us on sensible but also spiritual levels, both levels dependent upon the mundane details that create the realistic surface of the film narrative. The essay’s second and third parts deal with those details and the ways in which they enhance the image, character, and thematic force of the hero.


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