Film Friday – (…) I have squandered my days with plans of many things. This was not among them. But at this moment, I beg only to live the next few minutes well. (…)

 

DSC_0850

Film Fridays is a project initiated by Darren from over at The Arty Plantsman and me.

After doing a daily music challenge for a month last year we talked about doing something similar for movies.

And the current global lockdowns give us the perfect excuse to start!
Many of us are confined to home with only the TV for company so we thought we would start ‘Film Fridays’ so that we can talk about our favourite movies and hopefully give our readers some ideas for things to watch.
We would be delighted if you would join us!
Just tag your post with #FilmFriday and do a pingback to either Darren’s or my posts so that we can can have a look at yours! You can also copy the “Film Friday” poster I came up with.

We don’t necessarily want to talk about the nerdy technical details but more about why these films speak to us as individuals, why they have a place in our hearts, and any personal memories they evoke.

So please join us each friday when we will each be talking about a different movie from our list of favourites!

 

 

The quote for this week’s Film Friday comes from a 1999 historical fiction action film called “The 13th Warrior” starring Antonio Banderas about a medieval Arab courtier who joins forces with a host of Vikings who set out to defeat the evil that plagues their lands.

In full length it’s actually:

“Merciful Father, I have squandered my days with plans of many things. This was not among them. But at this moment, I beg only to live the next few minutes well. For all we ought to have thought, and have not thought; all we ought to have said, and have not said; all we ought to have done, and have not done; I pray thee God for forgiveness.”

I don’t know about you, but it speaks a lot to me, and especially now.

 

The film is based on Michael Crichton’s novel Eaters of the Dead, which is a loose retelling of the tale of Beowulf combined with Ahmad ibn Fadlan‘s historical account of the Volga Vikings.

I didn’t know this until I did the research for this post, but apparently the film received many awful reviews, holding only a 33% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Which might make the following sentence a bit awkward, because – I just love this film!! 😀

I like the story – anything historical will do for me, but even if you’re not into history like this geek-girl is, you have to admit: Vikings are cool! 😉 – the actors did a brilliant job (and yes, I can say this with sincere objectivity, even if I had/have a crush on Antonio Banderas 😉 ) – the setting is awesome, the music is great, there’s lots of suspense and thrill, so I wonder: what’s not to like?!

Maybe this just shows, that reviews and reviewers sometimes simply suck.

Part of the reason why you should nevertheless watch The 13th Warrior, though, is that there are moments like one of my favorite sequences in film history because it shows awareness of a very real and important element that most films completely ignore: language.

 

Ibn Fadlan (Antonio Banderas) speaks Arabic, you see. The Vikings he now meets don’t speak that language at all. (They’re speaking Norwegian, which is a descendant of Old Norse tongues and convenient for the filmmakers because it was the native language of many of the actors.)

Luckily for him, Ibn Fadlan has a companion, Melchisidek (played by the wonderful Omar Sharif) who begins trying some of the different languages he knows on various bearded fellows in the crowd. One of them hears him speaking Ancient Greek and so leads them to a Viking named Herger the Joyous.

Melchisidek is trying to find the king of the Vikings so that he can present Ibn Fadlan to him, and their first conversation goes like this:

Ibn Fadlan (in English, here passing for the protagonist’s Arabic): Try Greek.

Melchisidek (in Greek): Hegemona hymeteron? Basilea hymeteron?

Herger the Joyous: ::half-drunk stare::

Melchisidek (in Latin): Uestrum legem?

Herger (in Latin, after a beat): Noster Rex! Tabernaculo.

Melchisidek (in English): He says their king is out there in that tent.

Herger (in Latin): Non loquetur.

Melchisidek (in English): He says the king will not speak with us.

Herger (in Latin): Non loquetur, quia mortuus est!

Melchisidek (in English): Apparently, the king will not speak to us, because he is dead. This is his funeral.

Buliwyf (in Norwegian): Herger, hvem er den fremmede?

Herger (in Norwegian): Det er en Araber fra Baghdad.

What makes this scene even better (from a linguistic point of view) is that it even got natural errors. Melchisidek’s Greek, “ἡγεμόνα ὑμέτερον, βασιλέα ὑμέτερον,” by which he is apparently trying to say “Your chief? Your king?”, is incorrect grammar (this is not his native tongue, you see). And his Latin “Uestrum legem” doesn’t mean “Your king’ but instead “Your law,” an easy mistake for “Your law-giver.” This is the reason it takes Herger a moment to understand what he’s asking, and the reason he corrects Melchisidek with correct Latin (“Noster Rex”) when he does.

 

But wait! There’s even more! Finding himself now without his translator Melchisidek, Ibn Fadlan next spends night after night watching and listening to his companions talking around the campfire until he learns enough to respond to one of their jokes at his expense.

This sequence, too, is simply marvellous. Through cut scenes we watch as the men around the campfire go from all-Norwegian to mostly-Norwegian-but-a-little-English—the director John McTiernan (Die Hard) uses repeat cuts, zooming in on their mouths to show Ibn Fadlan’s focus—to mostly-English to this moment when Ibn Fadlan reveals his new language abilities:

Skeld the Superstitious: Blow-hards the both of you. She probably was some smoke-colored camp-girl. (points at Ibn Fadlan) Looks like that one’s mother!

Ibn Fadlan (speaking slowly in English, now passing for the protagonist’s newfound Norwegian): My mother …

Skeld: ::stares at him in shock::

Ibn Fadlan: … was a pure woman … from a noble family. And I, at least, know who my father is, you pig-eating son of a whore.

 

(You should also know that this geek-girl here learned both, Latin and Ancient Greek in school, for which it was horribly laughed at by “friends” who didn’t have to learn these languages at their schools. Now imagine said girl seeing a Hollywood movie where these languages were actually spoken…! Now you maybe get my excitement about it. 😉 )

Apart from these what I also liked about this film was the atmosphere it created, you can’t help feeling a little terrified at the mention of Grendel/Wendol!

 

What’s also important is, that there are humorous scenes as well, like the following which realistically depicts body hygiene as it was practiced in the old days:

 

 

 

I apologize for this lengthy fan-girling here, but it simply had to be said. 😉

This film is awesome, and if you haven’t watched it yet, go and do it now!!

39 thoughts on “Film Friday – (…) I have squandered my days with plans of many things. This was not among them. But at this moment, I beg only to live the next few minutes well. (…)

  1. I enjoyed your lengthy fan-girling, Sarah, and the movie sounds intriguing. We’ve enjoyed more family movie nights on the weekends, so I’ll add this to the list. Both actors are favorites, too. Enjoy the rest of your weekend, Lauren ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My husband, Randy, and I are also Anything-Viking fans. Lol. And the cool part is that after a film, we actually end up researching so that we can learn more about what was alluded to in the film’s story. He says we saw this one long ago, but I don’t remember it – time to watch again! It was fun hearing your take on the language. I think I would have missed all the nuances. Thanks for the recommendation, Sarah.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re welcome, Diana! And I do hope the two of you will have time to watch it again – it’s definitely worth it! 😉
      Haha! I do the same thing with researching after watching an historical film!! 😀
      Wishing you a lovely new week ahead! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Girlfriend, everyone has had a crush on Antonio Banderas – hahahahhaa. He’s so pretty! Actually, have you seen Women of the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown? I think that was his breakout role. It’s all in Spanish though, but you seem perfectly at home listening and understanding other languages!!!

    This one’s on my list. Sounds intriguing. I love Vikings, historical books and films, and yes, Antonio Banderas.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hihi! Very relieved to know that I’m not the only one with a crush on him. 😉 And you’re right – he’s so pretty! 😀 I wonder if he knows it? 😉 Maybe I should go and tell him! LOL!
      And no, I haven’t seen that film but I want to – NOW!! And since I learned Spanish in uni (though it did get a little bit rusty) I wouldn’t mind it being all in Spanish. 😀

      Have fun watching this one – it’s awesome! I bet you’ll love it!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I remember nothing about that movie except the part where he started to understand their language. Glad you mentioned that part. I remember liking the movie in general. I’d forgotten about this movie!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’d never heard of this movie, but it sounds interesting. I love that it contained a Special treat for linguists. It’s so cool when movies have some sort of in-joke or reference that only a few people really appreciate.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Well I have not seen this but am convinced! It sounds great!
    I do like the 2008 movie ‘Outlander’ which is a sci-fi/viking take on Beowulf. It is similarly poorly regarded on Rotten Tomatoes but has great effects and some good performances too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for pointing out Outlander to me, Darren! I haven’t seen that one yet! (Only a series of the same name but it’s quite different. 😉) Sorry for not having visited your blog yet, I forgot that it’s Gnocchi day today and I’m slaving away in the kitchen playing Italian kitchen goddess. 😂 Promise to drop by later today! 😘

      Like

  7. Any film with Antonio Banderas and Omar Sharif gets an extra 3 stars. Be still my heart. OK, heart, you can start again. Thank you for the detailed description of the film and the story background. This isn’t a genre I run to watch but I’m going to try to find this film. Maybe you’ll have to come sit by my side to translate the humor but I think I can figure out Banderas and Sharif by their expressions. There goes my heart again. Sarah. you’re making Film Friday lots of fun. (And I’d like to see your drawing of Banderas.)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hehe! I can’t blame your heart for speeding up, Shari. 😉 He really is such a handsome man – too bad he seems to prefer blonds! 😂
      No problem, hop on over, I’ll bake some croissants and then we can watch the film together! 😀
      P.S. Will see what I can do about that drawing. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Love your film choice. As a fan of Antonio Banderas, I had to see the movie when it was first released. Omar Sharif’s performance was a bonus. I enjoyed it at the time, but since I’ve become battle worn for violent movies, I couldn’t watch it again.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Rosaliene! So glad you also liked this film back then. I remember what a wonderful surprise it was to see Omar Sharif making an appearance in this film, even if it was a very short one.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s