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Frank Van Passel
Somewhere in France during the Middle Ages. Béatrice is impatient to see her father return from English captivity. She doesn't expect however that the father whom she loves from distance will be the most hateful person who will submit her and her family to abuse and humiliation. Written by
Dragomir R. Radev <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Bertrand Tavernier's medieval tragedy is steeped in the superstitions and squalor of 14th century France, offering an all too vivid depiction of a world shackled by its misplaced faith in a divine order behind our Earthly chaos. The script (written by the director's ex-wife) presents a chilling portrait of a nobleman whose fury against women is only one expression of his rage against God. Thirty years after murdering his mother's lover, he brutally torments his own son and corrupts his adoring daughter by first raping her and then proclaiming his intention to take her as his wife. Tavernier captures the often oppressive atmosphere of the setting with plenty of nervous energy, carried along by a restless hand-held camera and the director's astonishing eye for (presumably) authentic period detail. All the primitive manners and arcane medieval symbolism make the film perhaps easier to respect than enjoy; it's a dark and violent film about a dark and violent age, when women, like cattle, were not thought to have immortal souls.
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