My Ukrainian landlord looks just like Lancelot, the pinched lips, the 14th century armor that he wears over his pajamas, his flippancy in victory--like when he raises my rent every year the maximum allowed by Los Angeles law--hand delivering the notice at my door then returning to the bottom half of his horse for a gallop back to his tent up the road. Funny, his parents are dead ringers for Straub & Huillet.
Bresson creates his poetry by resisting poetry. He reveals in the process of concealing. He removes everything that can disturb the expression, then he removes the expression. A dialogue between the filmmaker, the actors and the audience fills the void that remains. This communication happens below human consciousness, and it is divine because it is made by humans in their most human state.
Probably only in some Straub/Huillet films and Oliveira's "Non" a period film was so semiotically staged, where the visual signs correspond to an exposure of a way and a time, and the sound, in its largest more-than-the-visible concrete dimensionality, the fill for an engaging and wide realistic approach, however ilogic such idea may seems. Or not, see the tournament sequence and the armors sound: (im)pure realism.
It's like Bresson said "Okay, kids, I'll shoot in your fancy-pants hipster color, but I'm going to take everything I was doing in black and white to an abstract wacksauce extreme and see how you like that."
The violence is so low key, unlike most swashbuckling slash-em-ups that rely solely on the "glory" of battle scene after battle scene, you actually get the sense of mortality of the fleshbound men in metal who could have their heads sliced off or smashed in following one fatal miss of their own blade. I also enjoy how Bresson focuses on Lancelot's sense of divine failure, feeling almost trapped in his earthly affair.
Bresson has better films, sure, but why are everyone here whinning about it at this rate? Terrible at acting?! Still way better than your Scorsese. To me this film is a poem (like all other Bresson films) which is written concisely and to the point, and it's pure cinema.
The movie flows with an inperceptible dynamism, in part thanks to the heavy use of ellipsis over some plot points while never eliding the bloody action sequences, which some can argue it may strengthen the narrative but makes it rather difficult to fill in the gaps at times. A little post-processing must be done after you watch it.
"One could say that Lancelot du Lac is about nothing more than the clanging of armor or the movements of legs, but the fact that he cares about the way situations look and feel, its textures and emotional tones (even as filtered through the singular Bressonian personality) is exceedingly important—and exceedingly cool." - Slantmagazine. This quote summarizes the film perfectly. Lancelot is pure linguistic gold. A-