The Medieval and Renaissance blade, a profound and beautiful object handcrafted by master artisans of old. An object of great complexity, yet one with a singular use in mind- it is designed... See full summary »
The Medieval and Renaissance blade, a profound and beautiful object handcrafted by master artisans of old. An object of great complexity, yet one with a singular use in mind- it is designed to kill. The truth of the sword has been shrouded in antiquity, and the Renaissance martial arts that brought it to being are long forgotten. The ancient practitioners lent us all they knew through their manuscripts. As gunslingers of the Renaissance they were western heroes with swords, and they lived and died by them. Yet today their history remains cloaked under a shadow of legend. Written by
How can one not love this movie? It is obviously the product of people who love European history, especially what the late Donn Draeger termed "hoplology", the study of the use of (manual) weapons. This is almost a doctoral dissertation on the rediscovery of what are called European martial arts. Using cinema and stage sword masters, sword makers, historians, old manuals, Asian martial artists with the tragic exception of genuine Japanese koryu (ancient school) members, Society of Creative Anachronists and actors, prop masters, a collage of people interested in Western swords and swordsmanship comes together as a fine and entertaining motion picture. From adolescents pretending to be swordsmen to world famous scholars, from the ridiculous to the sublime, this is a cross section of Western swordsmen and swordswomen today as the study of European swordplay is born again. After more than half a century in Japanese Budo I find much in this film to enjoy but a few areas where it fails a bit but on the whole it is superb and not often silly. A final thought on the Bonus Features: these vary as the film itself but the presentation of the Oakeshott system pf classification, despite the odd pronunciation of "mediaeval", is almost worth the price of the DVD all by itself.
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