John Ridd was just a boy when the villainous Carver Doone callously murdered his father. Now a young man, John has two driving passions: his thirst for revenge against the outlaw Doones, ... See full summary »
The story of three women who are involved in adulterous affairs - and Rose, who believes that anyone who sleeps with another's husband is committing a crime against womanhood. Ah, but how ... See full summary »
A 'Land Girl', an American GI, and a British soldier find themselves together in a small Kent town on the road to Canterbury. The town is being plagued by a mysterious "glue-man", who pours... See full summary »
Jane and Sharpe are married in Spain but he must leave her stricken with the fever that is sweeping the camp to join an invasion force led by inexperienced but arrogant young Colonel ... See full summary »
Sharpe is horrified to be told that his regiment,the South Essex,is to be disbanded and discovers a plot whereby corrupt war minister Fenner and other high ranking militarists auction off ... See full summary »
One summer's morning an unlikely band of pilgrims and occupy protesters sets out from St Paul's Cathedral bound for Canterbury, passionately wishing to repair the shredded moral fabric of ... See full summary »
Captures the bawdy bustle of Chaucer, but not the sublime.
Every Christmas, people complain about the dire schedules, but among the exhaustedly-repeated films and bloated 'specials' can be uncovered animated gems like this. I don't know why Christmas should be deemed appropriate for a profusion of 'adult' cartoons, but the viewer wins regardless, because they are daring, inventive and witty in themselves, even without a festive background of mediocrity to shine against.
I watched the first part of this last year, but only finished it last night because I'd lost the tape. I'm afraid I didn't dare watch it in its original Middle English, an option admirably open to me. To my eternal discredit, when I was at college, despite the best proselytising efforts of an amiably barmy lecturer to affirm his bawdiness, flexibility and great humour, I'd always avoided Chaucer because, you know, 14th century English. What does it mean? How can you even read it without a luggage load of notes? So I can't really discuss the film's success in visualising Chaucer's text.
What I can tell you is that it does achieve an extraordinary recreation of medieval life, in all its squalor, bustle, yet fertile energy. Far from being the received scowling monks and yobbish yahoos, Chaucer's pilgrims are recognisably human in their flaws, desires and talents, yet strictly grounded in the medieval social order that produced them. Each story they tell to ease the boredom of the journey to Canterbury, reflects, however obliquely, both its teller and his time.
The framing narrative of the pilgrimmage is told with puppets, but each tale utilises a different mode of animation. Being an expert neither in animation or Chaucer, I cannot tell whether there is an apt connnection between form and content. But the fluidity of each story; the ability to depict experience, emotion and event unavailable to live action; the exquisite, glaring colours; the remarkable draughtsmanship alternating between painstaking detail and broad flourishes are all a joy to behold.
As are the stories. The second part features a rich old blind man cuckolded by his young wife; a TREASURE OF SIERRA MADRE-like tale of gold greed and murder; and an aristocratic Romance about a loyal wife who is forced to sleep with a courtier after a supernatural miracle. The mixture of bawdy comedy and touching pathos is superbly contrived.
If I have a complaint (or two) it is that it is often difficult to hear the dialogue (realistic but ANNOYING), and that the arrival in Canterbury fails to grasp a sublime that is Chaucer's counterpoint to earthiness. But then we have the Archers' immortal A CANTERBURY TALE, so that's alright than.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?