Medievally Speaking reviews: Medieval

Updated: Nov 12


In this fall full of medievalist TV shows and movies, here is Kevin J. Harty's take on Petr Jákl's movie, Medieval, for Medievally Speaking.


"The first word that we hear on the screen is “violence” in a voice over by Michael Caine (yes, that Michael Caine, no less), here cast as Lord Boreš, ambassador extraordinaire for a Holy Roman Empire in political and religious turmoil. That one word sets the tone for the two hours which follow. Medieval (released in Europe under the title Jan Žižka) bears no relation to previous examples of cinematic medievalism that were costume dramas, or even bigger-budgeted costume epics. Its closest cinematic antecedent is Mel Gibson’s 1995 film Braveheart, not PG-violent films such as Jerry Zucker’s 1995 film First Knight, or even Guy Ritchie’s 2017 King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. Like the patriotic roots of the Scots supposedly on display in Mel Gibson’s film, Medieval wants us to know that those of the Czechs are just as mired in blood and mud.

Director Petr Jákl’s Medieval is an English-language Czech production that recounts the early years of the life of the storied Czech national hero, Jan Žižka (c. 1360-1424—here played by Ben Foster), before he achieved even greater fame in the Hussite Wars (1419-1434) that pitted Catholic Europe in a series of crusades against the followers of Jan Hus." READ FULL REVIEW HERE


Medievalism, médiévalisme, medievalismo, Mediävalismus, Mittelalter-Rezeption, medieval reception studies, Middelalderisme

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