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Lancelot du Lac is a 1974 French fantasy drama film written and directed by Robert Bresson.[1] It retells the story of Lancelot and Guinevere's love as Camelot and the Round Table fall apart. It is based on Arthurian legend and medieval romances, especially the Lancelot-Grail cycle, and the works of Chrétien de Troyes.

Lancelot du Lac
Lancelot du Lac film poster .jpg
Theatrical film poster
Directed byRobert Bresson
Produced byJean-Pierre Rassam
Francois Rochas
Written byRobert Bresson
StarringLuc Simon
Laura Duke Condominas
Humbert Balsan
Vladimir Antolek-Oresek
Patrick Bernhard
Music byPhilippe Sarde
CinematographyPasqualino De Santis
Edited byGermaine Artus
Distributed byGaumont
Release date
May 1974 (Cannes)
26 September 1974 (France)
Running time
85 minutes

In common with Bresson's later films, the cast was composed of amateur actors, several of whom did not appear in any other film. Bresson's direction demanded a purposeful lack of emotion in the acting style, and reduced or eliminated the fantastical elements of the Grail legend. This unglamorous depiction of the Middle Ages emphasizes blood and grime over fantasy.


Plot summaryEdit

King Arthur has sent out 100 knights to retrieve the Holy Grail. Arthur is dismayed when it turns out that the mission was futile and 70 knights have died in its course. Among those who have returned is Lancelot, the lover of Queen Guinevere. Soon Lancelot again takes part in a tournament. There he gets injured. While Lancelot seeks recovery in his own castle, Arthur learns about his wife's affair and, heavily agitated by Mordred, he puts Queen Guinevre in prison. With Lancelot's help she breaks out. Arthur starts immediately a campaign against the castle where the lovers were looking for shelter. During the siege Lancelot happens to kill his old mate Gawain. Driven by sorrow he tries to end the fight and wants to negotiate a treaty with King Arthur. When he witnesses how Mordred commits an attempt on Arthur he joins without hesitating the side of the king. In the final scene, many knights, among whom Arthur, lie dead or wounded after the battle. Lancelot, wounded himself, utters Guinevere's name before falling over.

Selected castEdit


The film was shot from the end of June to the start of September 1973 in Noirmoutier-en-l'Île.[2] It was shot on 35 mm color film with an aspect ratio of 1.66 : 1.[3]


The film premiered at the 1974 Cannes Film Festival in May 1974, followed by its theatrical release in France on 26 September 1974. It had its television premiere in West Germany on 4 May 1974.[4]


Critical responseEdit

The film was well-received among critics, currently holding a 94% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 16 reviews.[5]

It was Michael Haneke's second-place choice in the 2002 Sight & Sound poll of the greatest films ever made.[6]


The film won the FIPRESCI Prize at the 1974 Cannes Film Festival.[7]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Lancelot of the Lake". Retrieved 2014-03-03.
  2. ^
  3. ^
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  6. ^ "How the directors and critics voted: Michael Haneke". British Film Institute. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
  7. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Lancelot du Lac". Retrieved 2009-04-27.

External linksEdit