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.
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!!