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  • 2 months later...

The Green Knight is in theaters... but theaters might be weird in your area.

But A24 is selling tickets to an online screening of the film.
 
A24 Screening Room presents #TheGreenKnight AUGUST 18. Get tickets ⟶ screeningroom.a24films.com
 
I saw it opening weekend and loved it.
 
 

"But Pendragon isn’t intended to be historical, just fun.
So have fun."

-- Greg Stafford

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I saw it, it was good.

Some things for people who are on the fence of seeing it to note:

  • It's not an action movie as the trailers might imply, but a much more quiet and artsy film
  • It is really, REALLY, surreal, with a common theme from all but the initial act being the film almost demanding the audience ask "Okay, how real is this scene? How much should I take at face value?" From what I understand, this is common with the director
  • There are deviations from the tale, but they are fairly mild and it still hits all the major story beats of the original poem (and maintaining an ironclad fidelity to Arthurian canon is probably a fool's errand in any event).
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7 hours ago, jmberry1s said:

It is really, REALLY, surreal, with a common theme from all but the initial act being the film almost demanding the audience ask "Okay, how real is this scene? How much should I take at face value?" From what I understand, this is common with the director

I think this goes beyond the director's own work (which I like). 

Whenever I read Le Morte D'Arthur or Sir Gawain and the Green Knight I always feel like I'm part-way into a dream state. Both tales have a dream-like quality in their telling that I find kine of trippy. That Lowery and his team captured that quality in the film is one of its many successes in my view.

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"But Pendragon isn’t intended to be historical, just fun.
So have fun."

-- Greg Stafford

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I’ve been waiting for almost a year for this movie to come to New Zealand. I believe it was NZ’s Weta company that provided the effects, so one can only think it is a marketing issue. 

I note that there has been some criticism from Pendragon fans about whether it sticks completely with the plot of the poem, but I do think that movies are a different medium (and Arthurian tales are usually open to interpretation and cultural adaptation anyway). Regardless, I think any attempt to create an authentic feeling adaptation is something I want to watch. As opposed to a Guy Ritchie adaptation, say....

Here’s hoping the cinematic release comes soon to NZ. Might be the best Authurian adaptation since Excalibur. Possibly. 

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15 hours ago, TrippyHippy said:

Might be the best Authurian adaptation since Excalibur.

Certainly that's my take on the film.

The Green Knight (the movie) is definitely different than Sir Gawain and The Green Knight (the poem). The basic situation of the challenge in Arthur's court remains the same and the game forms the spine of the movie as the poem.

David Lowery (the writer/director) takes these lines found in the poem:

Quote

 

Many cliffs he over-clambered in countries strange,

far flying from his friends forsaken he rides.

at every twist of the water where the way passed

he found a foe before him, or freakish it were,

and so foul and fell he was beholden to fight.

So many marvels by mountain there the man finds,

it would be tortuous to tell a tenth of the tale.

Sometimes with dragons he wars, and wolves also,

sometimes with wild woodsmen haunting the crags,

with bulls and bears both, and boar other times,

and giants that chased after him on the high fells.

had he not been doughty, enduring, and Duty served,

doubtless he had been dropped and left for dead,

for war worried him not so much but winter was worse,

when the cold clear water from the clouds shed,

and froze ere it fall might to the fallow earth.

Near slain by the sleet he slept in his steel

more nights than enough in the naked rocks,

where clattering from the crest the cold burn runs,

and hung high over his head in hard icicles.

Thus in peril and pain, and plights full hard

covers the country this knight till Christmas Eve

alone.

The knight that eventide

to Mary made his moan,

to show him where to ride,

and guide him to some home.

 

And draws inspiration from them, illustrating some of the events mentioned as only a few words above, or adding his own to expand on "many marvels" Gawain encounters. This is all cricket as far as I'm concerned, since the poem says quite plainly "so many marvels by mountain there the man finds, it would be tortuous to tell a tenth of the tale." It's an open invitation for invention for the next storyteller and Lowery accepts it happily.

There are many tests of Gawain, so much so that the whole thing would fit comfortably in a game of King Arthur Pendragon as well Le Morte D'Arthur and the original poem. So all in all, its inspiration by the poem comes honestly.

The biggest differences are in the structure of the story and the nature of Gawain's arc as a character. I won't spoil much except to say that in the poem the social structure of Gawain's world plays a much more prominent part, while the film is more of a personal journey. Further, the poem (like many other romances) depends on the cycle of repeated events with contrasting challenges and results to make its point, while the film guts most of that to keep the story moving forward. I think trying to recreate the experience of the poem in the manner would be a disaster for most films. We could all have a talk about that if people want to dig into it deeper.

A note on the above however. Gawain's first words in the poem are:

Quote

I am the weakest, the most wanting in wisdom, I know, And my life, if lost, would be least missed, truly. Only through your being my uncle, am I to be valued; No bounty but your blood in my body do I know. And since this affair is too foolish to fall to you, And I first asked it of you, make it over to me; And if I fail to speak fittingly, let this full court judge Without blame.

In the poem these words are Gawain being humble, as the poet and the characters around him shower him with praise and recognition for his knightly virtues. Lowery, on the other hand, takes these words at face value for his Gawain. This is the part that caught his imagination, as far as I can tell, and which formed the spine of his adaptation. Either one is annoyed at Lowery for doing this, or not. For me this is where he decided to start from, keeping so much of the feel and quality of the poem. Clearly it is not the poem. But it creates something unique and lovely and haunting from that inspiration... so I happily accept that is not a recreation of the poem, but another telling of the story.

 

Edited by creativehum
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"But Pendragon isn’t intended to be historical, just fun.
So have fun."

-- Greg Stafford

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22 hours ago, SirUkpyr said:

Interestingly - the whole "Gawain as unproven knight" is the same aspect they focused on in the movie "Sword of the Valiant" - where Sean Connery plays the Green Knight.

LOVE Sean Connery's Green Knight.

It seems that interpreting the Green Knight story as happening fairly early during the time of the Round Table and with Gawain still young and somewhat untested is a rather popular modern take.

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