Monday, 28 June 2010

Luttrell Psalter - the Movie

So the kind people at WAG Screen sent me through a copy of their film of the Luttrell Psalter in response to me blogging about it a few weeks ago.

I suppose I was expecting the standard documentary-style piece, with voiceover, pieces to camera, intercut with a couple of re-creations of medieval life. That's certainly a film they could have made, but instead they've made a deceptively simple 20 minute film recreating scenes from the Luttrell Psalter in an effort to transport us back 600 years. No plot, no narration, not many words at all.

As a result, if you just view the film, it's a very impressionistic experience. Oxen, breath steaming in the cold Lincolnshire air, haul a crude but familiar-looking plough across a field. A young boy vaults up a tree to steal some cherries, narrowly escaping a wrathful farmer. Chickens scratch around a farmyard. A wronged wife belabours her penitent husband with a stick. We're left to have our own opinions on how like these people we are and how unlike. How hard life must have been and how rewarding.

The film took 2 years to make, on a budget that wouldn't normally cover the costumes, and the makers traveled to the North West to film red squirrels, to Wales to find a medieval village, and to London to find a scriptorium. This truly was a labour of love, and it shows on the screen.

For those unfamiliar with the book, the interview with the ever-watchable Michelle Brown is required viewing, and helps relate the book to the film.

So as a piece of film-making, experimental archaeology, pedagogy and indeed art, the film is an unlikely success. I hope the team put a copy online soon and it gets the wider audience it deserves.

5 comments:

periodwardrobe said...

Thank you Michael - and your review has given us an idea! WAG Screen has a Facebook fan page for the Luttrell Psalter Film and we have decided to upload the film to it (in HD) when the number of fans on the fan page reaches 1,000! So if anyone wants to see the film, become a fan and spead the word!

The Luttrell Psalter Film - Facebook fan page

periodwardrobe said...

We have a joint exhibition!

MEDIEVAL LIVES ON SHOW:
The Intriguing world of the Luttrell Psalter

Using film, real and replica medieval artefacts, a ‘turning the page’ kiosk and a facsimile of the document from the British Library, this exhibition explores some of the images from the Luttrell Psalter to discover what the vibrant pictures can tell us about everyday life and the people who lived and worked in medieval Lincolnshire.

Supported by the British Library, WAGSCREEN and The Collection, Art and Archaeology in Lincolnshire.
Open Tuesday – Saturday
Admission FREE
Until 14th September

periodwardrobe said...

I forgot to say where!:
St Katherine’s
Heritage and Cultural Centre
South Park Roundabout
St Catherines
Lincoln LN5 8LN
www.stkatherineslincoln.co.uk

Michael Stocking said...

Good luck with the show - not sure I'll be able to make it though.

periodwardrobe said...

Hello Michael

We reached our target number of fans and the Luttrell Psalter Film has now been released on the internet free: http://www.wagscreen.co.uk/
all the best
Pauline