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The Green Knight

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Jeremy Blackman

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Reply #90 on: August 01, 2021, 02:33:38 AM
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The mushrooms moment only irks me because it sets up an escape hatch from magical realism. Why not fully commit to the reality of Gawain's experience? Why not just let it be weird and real? Sure, the giants are a bit further afield than the ghost and the witchcraft. But this universe is wild. I don't think any of it needs to be explained as a character's hallucination.

From a quick google search:

Quote
Giants are very common throughout British folklore, often represented as the original inhabitants of the island before the civilising of the island and it is likely that the traditions existed before Geoffrey's time. Indeed, many of Arthur's retinue from the earliest stratum of the Arthurian legend, i.e. before Geoffrey, appear to be giants.

David is allowed to have his own more grounded version of Arthurian legend, obviously. But I wanted it to go all the way, and I felt this one moment uncharacteristicly pulls back from the film's overall audaciousness. Trailer expectations could be playing a role here too.
"Hunger is the purest sin"


jenkins

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Reply #91 on: August 01, 2021, 02:43:54 AM
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The mushrooms moment only irks me because it sets up an escape hatch from magical realism. Why not fully commit to the reality of Gawain's experience? Why not just let it be weird and real? Sure, the giants are a bit further afield than the ghost and the witchcraft. But this universe is wild. I don't think any of it needs to be explained as a character's hallucination.

From a quick google search:

Quote
Giants are very common throughout British folklore, often represented as the original inhabitants of the island before the civilising of the island and it is likely that the traditions existed before Geoffrey's time. Indeed, many of Arthur's retinue from the earliest stratum of the Arthurian legend, i.e. before Geoffrey, appear to be giants.


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you're adhering to logic, absolutely, while from an artistic perspective the outrageousness of the giants validates the reasonableness of the fox. as in, splitting the difference validates the fox. it's bullshit on the one hand, and on another hand it's presenting a new logic, which is what artshit does. while i don't think the new reality offers true depth, i do think it offers a feeling, and a feeling can mean as much as anything else


Jeremy Blackman

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Reply #92 on: August 01, 2021, 12:14:20 PM
"Hunger is the purest sin"


csage97

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Reply #93 on: August 01, 2021, 07:10:08 PM
I just got back from seeing it .... Oh golly, I did love it. What a movie to see as the first back from ... what is it for me, a year or more since going to the cinema?
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Yes, this was a visual feast. The misty hills, forests, bogs, and castles were splendid. Especially since I've lately been reading Ted Hughes' poetry and drawing forests and simple landscapes. It does mostly have that modern look where things look so clean and hyper-real that I can't tell what's effects and what's part of an actual location. But the visuals on the whole are a treat with lots of the monochrome-heavy palettes (like a blue-glowing sky or .... Well, if you've seen it, you know what I mean).

I did glance at some viewer reviews before seeing it just to gauge the reactions, and I saw a pattern of people (from the negative reviews) saying that they couldn't understand the green knight's dialogue because it was (I paraphrase) "all electronically altered." The irony is that I found the green knight's dialogue very clear and by far the easiest to understand -- not that I had a huge issue understanding the other dialogue recordings. (Also, it seemed those in the negative reviews didn't like the fantastical elements or the ambiguity, as well as the slower pace. I concede that the somewhat slow-ish pace may not be for audiences who are accustomed to endless action these days. But the adverse reaction to any ambiguity for some, especially with the ending or whatever, really makes me incredibly cynical about audiences wanting to be spoon-fed.)

Some of the reviews I glanced at said it was like watching side-quests to the main quest (and some complained they didn't understand the relation to the main quest), and it was kind of like that, but that's part of why I really liked it. Actually, I think it would've been even better if it had gone on longer and had more steps along the way. I could live in the world a lot longer, really (though I understand if a lot of audiences would want things to be wrapped up by a certain point).

Indulging the video game side-quest thing, it did remind me of a lot of parts in The Witcher III (I know there are a few gamers in here). The part with the "spirit" in the movie really reminded me of sailing to the island in The Witcher and discovering the trapped spirit of a woman in the top floor of an old house. The general sparseness of the landscapes and such reminding me of The Witcher as well. I admit I don't know much about the mythologies and folklore of different countries, but this at least reminded me of the atmosphere and fantastical elements of The Witcher. And then there are obvious medieval comparisons like Macbeth and such.

In terms of my interpretation .... Well, I immediately thought about "fairness" and honour. If Gawain had chosen to not let another do unto him as he had done to them (i.e., chop another's head off in glory, disallow them the same opportunity, and then reap the benefits), he would gain everything but live a dishonourable and "tainted" life. His dissatisfaction is evident in the "flash forward" scenes. So he opts out and accepts the consequences. Anyway, I'll have to read the article with David explaining things now.


jenkins

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Reply #94 on: August 01, 2021, 07:34:25 PM
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well you know, when he gets to the green knight, and waits for the green knight to wake up, and for the green knight to pay him back, except for the flash forward this particular section doesn't last long. there isn't much to it. that's why all the side questing happens. his time as a guest in the castle before the final showdown is longer and more nuanced in the book. this movie chose to devote itself more to Gawain's search efforts because that concentrates on Gawain. the whole bit about the horse being stolen and Gawain being tied up and all that, that's the Lowery touch, not in the source, and he pretty much kills that. i don't know if the field of dead soldiers really makes sense but i think that's a great scene, with the rolling fog and whatnot too. he couldn't leave out the castle scene because Gawain had to get the garter. it being made of material sourced from his mother is also a Lowery touch

I don't know if Gawain's personal perspective about fairness and honor amounts to much more than extreme fatalism. it's a dramatic gesture to leave feelings with the audience but, oh, I like how in the source Gawain stays alive by wearing the garter, and everyone understands why he would do that and laughs. this movie is just dramatic, which it can be, has every right to be


csage97

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Reply #95 on: August 01, 2021, 08:04:03 PM
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That struck me -- that his time in the castle as a guest lasted longer than the final showdown, but not nearly long enough for me. Although I think the most "important" or "telling" conversations happened during this time (i.e., Alicia Vikander's speech, and the fireside conversation between Gawain and ... I forget his name now). I could almost deduce that it's much longer in the book, though. It was almost like it felt a bit rushed? Several things remain perplexing, such as the book given to Gawain, the blind (?) mother, the host's departing kiss (it kind of felt rushed and really unexpected). In fact, thinking about it now, my biggest complaints are probably about this section ... not because they're overtly unexplained per say (I could've missed some things too), but because they felt important without enough running time available.

I just wish more time could be given to those scenes/scenarios. Like, the forest scenes with the thief were fantastic, but a bit slower. Not saying they should be cut. I love the 720 pan with Gawain, the skeleton, and then Gawain. You can glean a lot from just that, but then there is so much condensed into the "guest in the castle" part where it feels like it's not explored as much. I'm not saying anything should be cut, though. I think I made it clear that I think I would love to have much more of this movie. I admit the guest castle scenes were pretty enigmatic .... So to me it's kind of, what's Lowery trying to say or do with the pieces/the looser elements?

One of the nice things was that I didn't read the source before seeing the movie (and I don't know much about Arthurian stories), so I could kind of experience it solely as Lowery's story. Which is kind of cool in the sense that I want to see what a director is giving me, what I can glean from what he solely puts on the screen.


jenkins

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Reply #96 on: August 01, 2021, 08:13:07 PM
if you read the book or not it's solely Lowery's movie. the book helps expand certain details but overall this movie is his own creation. to be honest i don't quite understand why he didn't choose his own title and make it clearer that this was his own creation. if anything that would've helped him crystalize details himself


csage97

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Reply #97 on: August 01, 2021, 09:21:59 PM
Maybe a marketing decision. It can draw some of the crowd who know the original story, I suppose. Maybe "Sir Gawain's Journey" or something is more appropriate, but I really don't know.

I must say that it's pretty weird seeing David's film releases. It's cool to say you used to speak with him, Jenkins, when you both were in a position of just trying to Make It. I mean, insanely cool. What I mean by saying it's weird to see his films is that I really (I'm going to say it) didn't like A Ghost Story (I'm just going to say it). But I ADORE The Old Man and the Gun. I mean, I can't say it enough. The cinematography, acting, script, casting, etc. in that one blew my mind. That movie had so much charm and beauty ....

The Green Knight feels like a really big-budget movie but like he's retaining some "indie" sensibilities. I mean, the progression is remarkable. It's no doubt a big-cinema movie .... I just watched it in the middle of the afternoon on a big cinema screen and the theatre was full (by pandemic protocols). But A Ghost Story felt smaller (I watched it at the smaller "art house" cinema here), The Old Man and the Gun felt understated ... and this one felt HUGE. Like it should be on the big screen. Really, my biggest criticism is that Alicia Vikander's "monologue" felt very contrived, which was almost totally a script/direction thing. There is a specific moment in A Ghost Story that feels very similar, but a lot more amplified .... This is my biggest criticism of Lowery's choices thus far ....


Jeremy Blackman

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Reply #98 on: August 01, 2021, 11:35:37 PM
Responding to much of the above:

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People complaining about side quests are just flagging themselves as not being interested in fantasy/mythic storytelling.

The only scene I found to be even remotely slow was Gawain waiting for TGK to wake up, but then of course it's revealed to be for a purpose, and I liked it. But that was definitely the moment when the audience shifted in their seats.

I too thought TGK's dialogue was perfectly audible. And I love that performance.

As I understand it, the blind woman in the castle is a powerful witch, probably in league with Gawain's mother, if not Gawain's mother herself. Alicia Vikander #2 is her projection. This is why the monologue didn't bother methat's not a "real" character, per se. (And I don't think the monologue in A Ghost Story even pretended to be organic, so that didn't bother me either.)
"Hunger is the purest sin"


jenkins

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Reply #99 on: August 02, 2021, 12:33:58 AM
I was remembering you said this

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the host's departing kiss (it kind of felt rushed and really unexpected).


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so the host gives him the fox from the hunt, then the kiss is what Gawain received during his day, referencing his affection with the host's wife. again in the source text this is handled in a much more coherent and significant fashion. i agree that this section isn't dynamic and i think instead of remixing source material it could have been created under a whole new design. i mean this movie adds in the blind woman which, again, really lacks the elegance of the source material, per the movie's Teen Goth intention


jenkins

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Reply #100 on: August 03, 2021, 03:17:36 AM
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I referenced The Green Knight in my current book after reading The Green Knight, and that reference still works fine, because it refers to his first encounter with Gawain, which although altered in the movie is philosophically preserved, but if I had mentioned the girdle it'd be fucked now, which is what I mean when I call this movie cultural appropriation. it's, like, weird to take it upon yourself to subvert an icon that could last through time rather than retitle the movie. it's a cheap win, I'm sorry but it is. it's caring more about your own perspective than the culture being represented. I don't respect it and I haven't said I do, although I do still support this movie and this thought was guided not by further thought of the movie but by editing my book


Jeremy Blackman

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Reply #101 on: August 09, 2021, 06:37:43 PM
"Hunger is the purest sin"


Jeremy Blackman

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Reply #102 on: August 10, 2021, 12:43:20 PM
"Hunger is the purest sin"


Jeremy Blackman

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Reply #103 on: August 17, 2021, 11:48:01 AM
"Hunger is the purest sin"


Shughes

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Reply #104 on: August 21, 2021, 08:18:15 PM
I watched tonight and I'm still processing. It was very different to anything I thought it would be. And I feel like I'll be thinking about it for a long time.

I was remembering you said this

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the host's departing kiss (it kind of felt rushed and really unexpected).


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so the host gives him the fox from the hunt, then the kiss is what Gawain received during his day, referencing his affection with the host's wife. again in the source text this is handled in a much more coherent and significant fashion. i agree that this section isn't dynamic and i think instead of remixing source material it could have been created under a whole new design. i mean this movie adds in the blind woman which, again, really lacks the elegance of the source material, per the movie's Teen Goth intention


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So in regard to the host's kiss, I took the agreement they made to be whatever the host hunts will be traded for whatever Gawain gets that day. Gawain had a sexual experience with the host's partner and I took this scene to be the host claiming what was his. There is an implication that more than a kiss is expected and the host states he could take what is owed if necessary. This sinister threat is somewhat countered by the tenderness with which Gawain says "unhand me and I'll be on my way" (or similar). This tenderness bowled me over, and I can imagine that scene being played on the opposite side of the spectrum - with physical threat followed by a violent or shouty recoil. The way it is played allows for the complexity of the scene to really show itself. Could be I'm reading too much into it, or misreading it. But it worked for me.