23 user 7 critic

The Advocate (1993)

The Hour of the Pig (original title)
In medieval France, young lawyer Richard Courtois leaves Paris for the simpler life in the country. However, he is soon drawn into amorous and political intrigues. At the same time, he is ... See full summary »




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Cast overview, first billed only:
Magistrate Boniface
Bailiff Labatier
Madame Langlois
Raoul Delfosse ...
Blind George
Jean-Pierre Stewart ...


In medieval France, young lawyer Richard Courtois leaves Paris for the simpler life in the country. However, he is soon drawn into amorous and political intrigues. At the same time, he is pushed to defend a pig, owned by the mysterious gypsy Samira. The pig has been arrested for the murder of a young boy. Written by Reid Gagle

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


When murder is the motive, seduction is the last defense.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for elements of strong sexuality | See all certifications »





Release Date:

24 August 1994 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Advocate  »


Box Office

Gross USA:

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Appearing on the American talk show The Talk (2010) in 2012, Executive Producer Harvey Weinstein recalled this movie as being the worst film he had worked on, a complete disaster, and urged the audience not to see it. See more »


In the epilogue crawl, the character name Mathieu is spelled once correctly, and in a subsequent paragraph as Mathiew. See more »


Man Cuckolded by Albertius: Where is he? I'll kill him! I'll cut his balls off!
See more »


Featured in Screen Two: The Hour of the Pig (1995) See more »


Quant Voi en la Fin D'este
Written by Perrin D'Agincourt
Performed by the St. George's Canzona
Counter-tenor, Derek Harrison
Arranged by John Sothcott
Courtesy of CRD Records
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User Reviews

Surprisingly authentic with strong contemporary relevance .
13 May 2008 | by See all my reviews

The joy of this film is the acting - it is amazing. Donald Pleasance's speech for the prosecution at the trial of the pig has you hanging on every word as if you were there in the courtroom. The witch is so telling too - so haunting in her sense of herself. Michael Gough's judge has such depth and irony, and the grand seigneur picks up on the flippancy and boredom of the upper classes in XIVth Century France with such understatement. The use of terms like the French "maitre" (for the lawyers) and the Latin "domini" (for the priest)is exactly right. "Master" or "Lord" would be quite wrong. There is no weak link at all - this is subtle individual and ensemble playing with few parallels.

Where the film has attracted criticism is over the alleged anachronism in Colin Firth's performance. I beg to disagree. Putting animals on trial was not accepted universally in Europe, and was not enjoined by the Church at all. Contemporary people could and did disagree with it in principle, otherwise it would have spread all over the Catholic world. Young lawyers were legendary for their promiscuity.

People could and did bridge the divide between those outside society and those within it, and in certain realms and in certain reigns this was actively encouraged. City people did disdain the countryside. Humanity was less tender than now but charity of all kinds was encouraged, and where Church Law appeared to limit kindness, there were people ready to ridicule the Church.

Firth's performance smacks of the Age of Petrarch and Boccaccio, and indeed the Canterbury Tales, where irony enabled a new free thinking under the nose of the Inquisition. His depiction of the young generous idealist who is lusty, self-seeking, obtuse and arrogant is a depiction of a type of person throughout recorded history.

The incredible detail in the film gives a rightness to the production rarely seen in films of this category - the back cloth to the mystery play is a medieval wonder in itself. The town itself seems a tad small to warrant resident advocates but this is a very minor detail. The inn acting as a brothel is a good touch.

The calamitous XIV Century was one of popular revolt and a refusal to accept the iniquities of the class system. This film, with the ominous threat of the Back Death advancing in the background, evokes those uneasy times with a relaxed sureness that makes it a real gem

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