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Ridley Scott's The Last Duel gets the green light

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  • babypook
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    Cordelia
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    #1203181671

    The question is – will this be Ridley Scott in Oscars mode or not? The release timing would suggest so. Also, Disney choosing a film with subject matter this touchy (rape, revenge, justice, truth) as one of their first big Fox green lights suggests there is faith in the film.

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    arabian
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    #1203182053

    I am quoting and linking to Obversa’s post on reddit about this because it gives more background (pretty interesting I think) to this story rather than the rather sensational and controversial take that’s been going around.

    Note this is from an Adam Driver subreddit since Driver is playing one of the leads.

    Also spoilers to what happens in the film as it is based on an actual historical event.

    https://www.reddit.com/r/adamdriver/comments/dx0x21/adam_driver_set_to_star_in_ridley_scotts_the_last/f7mrs3n/

    I’ve seen a lot of people reacting badly to this when it was initially announced that Driver was in talks for the role on Twitter, due to how the media reported it at the time as one of a knight accused of assaulting his fellow knight and friend’s wife, but I’d say most – if not all – of them have not actually read the book The Last Duel by Eric Jager, which the film is supposedly based on.

    r/askhistorians’s /u/Georgy_K_Zhukov, who is a moderator, summarized the story’s full context here.

    —-To clarify, Adam, based on the last reports, would be slated to play the role of French knight Jacques le Gris (“Jack / James [the] Gray”).

    Yes, [trial by combat] was [a thing in the Middle Ages]. We find early attestation in 6th century Burgundy, giving formal recognition to the concept under King Gundebald. It was one of several “Ordeals” that one could go through in lieu of trial to prove innocence, the thinking being of course that one in the right would win with God’s guidance (I’m not a medievalist, so the general concept of trial by ordeal is something another person would need to expand on, as I approach trial by combat as the antecedent to the later duel of honor).

    Obviously there was a great defect here to more modern eyes, since the winner often was the better fighter, but this was a criticism even then. Incidents where the weaker man clearly won, for this reason, were especially noted…

    Although in the early Middle Ages, there was at least some support from the Church, it quickly soured, and we see a number of laws and edicts that sought to limit or stamp it out, and in 1215, priests were prohibited from being involved in any way, making the trial by combat an essentially secular proceeding. It survived for several more centuries however, but slowly began to die off as an explicit replacement for trial.

    One of the last true judicial duels was that between Jean de Carogne and Jacques le Gris, the latter having been accused by the former’s wife of rape. Carogne would defeat the accused – favorite of the King – in combat before the court and many notable dignitaries. Fought in 1387, this was the last judicial duel in France to be sanctioned by the Parliament of Paris, and the controversy and distaste that it brought for many no doubt played a part in the demise there. Several more would occur over the next century or so in the distant parts of France, but further requests were denied by Parliament, losing the institution much of its standing.

    Sorry! I should have expanded more on the Carogne/Gris combat, as I gave it awfully short shrift there, but in my defense, I was a bit rushed since I needed to be out the door. The actual rape case was a “he said, she said” kind of deal. No witnesses, only the accuser, and of course no forensic evidence that allows us to investigate these things today. Le Gris had many supporters, who at the very least believed a wrongful identification. More heinous motives also could be advanced. De Carogne and Le Gris were both serving in the court of Count Pierre, and rather then summarize the relevant land dispute I’ll quote Jager here:

    “At Le Gris’s death, much of his land reverted to Count Pierre of Alencon, including Aunou-le-Faucon. This was the fief that Marguerite’s father had sold to Count Pierre in 1377, and that the count in turn gave to Le Gris in 1378. When Jean de Carrouges married Marguerite two years later and realized that the valuable estate of Aunou-le-Faucon had slipped from his own grasp into the hands of his rival, he had started a lawsuit to recover it. But Count Pierre obtained the king’s approval for his gift to the squire, quashing his vassal’s protest. Now, after killing the squire in the duel, Jean de Carrouges tried once more to get this coveted piece of land, as though his revenge would not be complete until he possessed it.”

    So as you can see, there was both bad blood (they had been friends years before and this turned them against each other) and motive (he didn’t get the land in the end, btw). So in this formulation, Carogne was putting his wife up to the accusation to advance his own interests. And of course, some thought Marguerite had made up the accusation to cover for an adultery. There was another theory as well, that Marguerite had made the accusation in earnest and believed it, but that is was a vivid dream which she took for reality. This version had essentially been the verdict of Count Pierre when he had held the initial tribunal over the charges, after which Carogne had appealed for combat.

    So, not everyone thus believed in the righteousness of Carogne’s cause (and as I noted, Le Gris was in favor with the King), so many also believed the wrong man won (Jager notes however the Le Gris’ lawyer apparently had doubts as to his innocence). So yes, the case itself was controversial, and not everyone was pleased with the outcome. As I noted, the Church, by the High Middle Ages, was clamping down on what was seen as “tempting of God”. Trial by combat of course relies on a belief that God ensures the victor is correct, and when you don’t think the “verdict” was right, it kind of upends the whole thing.
    Since I originally compiled this post, Variety is reporting now that the film’s screenplay is not only written by a woman, but also is told from at least two perspectives – those of both knights involved in the dispute – much like how writer-director Rian Johnson approached writing and directing Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017), and writer-director Noah Baumbach did the same for Marriage Story (2019).*

     

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    babypook
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    #1203182165

    I am quoting and linking to Obversa’s post on reddit about this because it gives more background (pretty interesting I think) to this story rather than the rather sensational and controversial take that’s been going around.

    Note this is from an Adam Driver subreddit since Driver is playing one of the leads.

    Also spoilers to what happens in the film as it is based on an actual historical event.

    https://www.reddit.com/r/adamdriver/comments/dx0x21/adam_driver_set_to_star_in_ridley_scotts_the_last/f7mrs3n/

    Great corollary research. I wasn’t aware of it.

    Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
    Philip K Dick Blade Runner

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    Jus
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    #1203182193

    Everything about this production was prepared in the press poorly by Disney and Fox. From first reports and how they presented the story, to casting news etc. They later started to change the tone in press notes, but it was a bit late for that.

    Yes, it is historical event, and they completely ignored that when they were describing the story, which in my opnion was a mistake.

    Overall, I have serious doubts if they will do the story justice. I’m worried, but at the same time I’m courius. Risky topic to sell, for sure. Especially with that kind of falstart. The woman, Marguerite de Carrouges deserves to have her story told, but HOW this story will be told? Yeah, that is the question.

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    babypook
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    #1203182351

    Everything about this production was prepared in the press poorly by Disney and Fox. From first reports and how they presented the story, to casting news etc. They later started to change the tone in press notes, but it was a bit late for that.

    Yes, it is historical event, and they completely ignored that when they were describing the story, which in my opnion was a mistake.

    Overall, I have serious doubts if they will do the story justice. I’m worried, but at the same time I’m courius. Risky topic to sell, for sure. Especially with that kind of falstart. The woman, Marguerite de Carrouges deserves to have her story told, but HOW this story will be told? Yeah, that is the question.

    That’s part of my concern as well, but with the talent in front of and behind the camera I’m feeling confidant. Also, I’m familiar with life and political views of 14th C France so..if they get it horribly wrong and turns into a self indulgent film it’ll bother me. But again I’m not too worried.
    I’m thinking they may wait until his project with Gaga works out if this one fails.

    Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
    Philip K Dick Blade Runner

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