Release on 1984-10-15 | by Natalie Zemon Davis,Martin Guerre,Arnault Du Tilh
Author: Natalie Zemon Davis,Martin Guerre,Arnault Du Tilh
Pubpsher: Harvard University Press
The clever peasant Arnaud du Tilh had almost won his case, when a man with a wooden leg swaggered into the French courtroom, denounced du TiIh, and reestablished his claim to the identity, property, and wife of Martin Guerre. This book, by the noted historian who served as a consultant for the film, adds new dimensions to this famous legend.
Few stories are more captivating than the one told by Natalie Zemon Davis in The Return of Martin Guerre. Basing her research on records of a bizarre court case that occurred in 16th-century France, she uses the tale of a missing soldier - whose disappearance threatens the livelihood of his peasant wife - to explore complex social issues. Davis takes rich material - dramatic enough to have been the basis of two major films - and uses it to explore issues of identity, women's role in peasant society, the interior lives of the poor, and the structure of village society, all of them topics that had previously proved difficult for historians to grapple with. Davis displays fine qualities of reasoning throughout - not only in constructing her own narrative, but also in persuading her readers of her point of view. Her work is also a fine example of good interpretation - practically every document in the case needs to be assessed for issues of meaning.
With extensive cross references and production data, filmlovers and students will find this a valuable reference for identifying feature films that take place during a specific period of world history.
Story of a man who returns home after serving many years as a soldier, only to have his identity questioned. Based on a true story that has inspired at least two movies, "The return of Martin Guerre" (1982) and "Sommersby" (1993).
Movies have provided a record of the war veteran as he was viewed within his own culture and within the culture in which the movies were produced. Thus, movies account for a significant portion of what people “know” about the war veteran and how he fared during and after the war. In this book, the author examines 125 movies from the classical era to the 20th century that feature the war veteran. The author provides commentary on specific categories the films can be organized into and notes similarities between films produced in different periods. The categories deal with the wounded veteran returning home (e.g., The Sun Also Rises, The Best Years of Our Lives, Born on the Fourth of July, The Manchurian Candidate); the veteran struggling with guilt, revenge and post-traumatic stress disorder (Anatomy of a Murder, Lethal Weapon, Desert Bloom, In Country, Jacob’s Ladder); the war veteran returning in disguise (Ulysses, Ivanhoe, The Seventh Seal, The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit); the war veteran as a social symbol (Dances with Wolves, Gosford Park, The Legend of Bagger Vance, The Big Chill, Gods and Monsters, Cornered); the war veteran in action (The Born Losers, Conspiracy Theory, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, Saint Jack, Looking for Mr. Goodbar); and the war veteran before, during and after the war (The Deer Hunter, Forrest Gump).
People have been experimenting with different ways to write history for 2,500 years, yet we have experimented with film in the same way for only a century. Noted professor and historian Natalie Zemon Davis, consultant for the film The Return of Martin Guerre, argues that movies can do much more than recreate exciting events and the external look of the past in costumes and sets. Film can show millions of viewers the sentiments, experiences and practices of a group, a period and a place; it can suggest the hidden processes and conflicts of political and family life. And film has the potential to show the past accurately, wedding the concerns of the historian and the filmmaker. To explore the achievements and flaws of historical films in differing traditions, Davis uses two themes: slavery, and women in political power. She shows how slave resistance and the memory of slavery are represented through such films as Stanley Kubrick's Spartacus, Steven Spielberg's Amistad and Jonathan Demme's Beloved. Then she considers the portrayal of queens from John Ford's Mary of Scotland and Shekhar Kapur's Elizabeth to John Madden's Mrs. Brown and compares them with the cinematic treatments of Eva Peron and Golda Meir. This visionary book encourages readers to consider history films both appreciatively and critically, while calling historians and filmmakers to a new collaboration. From the Trade Paperback edition.