Lancelot of the Lake
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As with his earlier Trial of Joan of Arc, French-filmmaker Robert Bresson effectively casts unknowns in his interpretation of the Knights of the Round Table saga. Breaking with the standard romantic spin on this legend, Bresson offers us a selfish, ruthless Lancelot, no better than the other grubby "nobles" who seek but fail to find the Holy Grail. Returning from his futile mission, Lancelot callously renews his affair with King Arthur's Guenevere, who likewise is depicted in less than sympathetic terms. Expectedly, the dream of "Camelot" is dashed to bits; Bresson… More
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"It's stunningly beautiful, mesmerising, exhausting, uplifting, amazing -- all the things you could possibly expect from a masterpiece."
‑ , Time Out
"Bresson's stripped-to-the-bone adaptation eschews the traditionally heroic, spectacular, fabulous, and exaltedly romantic aspects of the legendary saga in order to lay bare the confusion and pain within the human soul."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"Cuts to the heart of the Arthurian tragedy… strips away the early grandeur of Camelot, leaving only the demoralized foundering in the wake of the failed Grail quest."
‑ Steven D. Greydanus, Decent Films Guide
"Even with a well-known story as its backdrop, it is only upon the third or fourth viewing that one can even begin to contemplate the larger questions at work in the film."
‑ Matt Bailey, Not Coming to a Theater Near You
"Casts a magical spell over an old legend and reinvents it."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"The style is intact but the content is missing."
‑ Vincent Canby, New York Times
"Richly symbolic drama, endlessly inventive."
‑ Michael E. Grost, Classic Film and Television
"Bresson strips away frippery to such an extent that it should be a coma-inducing slog, but it's not."
‑ Phil Freeman,
"One suspects that Bresson wanted to interpret Arthurian legend in a way that would emphasize its petty emotions and physicalities."
‑ Zach Campbell, Slant Magazine
"A sublime masterpiece, at once majestic and accessible."
‑ , Film4
"It belongs with Pickpocket and Au hasard Balthazar at the highest level of Bresson's achievement."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"It's often characterized as a 'despairing' film in Bresson's late oeuvre, but in fact, it's an elegiac lamentation...beautifully rendered in loving, rhythmic care."
‑ Doug Cummings, Filmjourney
"It has a magnificence that creeps out a little at a time, especially over repeated viewings."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
"Having seen Bresson's filmography in full (including this film twice), I'm convinced that Lancelot of the Lake is on par with his very best and most transcendent work."
‑ Gabe Leibowitz, Film and Felt
"Bresson's knights are wanderers in the forest whose every move reverberates with the clang of chain mail."
‑ Marjorie Baumgarten, Austin Chronicle
More reviews for Lancelot of the Lake on Rotten Tomatoes