Popcorn Bowl 05 – Arn, the Knight Templar

This is another recommendation. The movie is based on Jan Guillou’s trilogy called Crusades, which I promised to myself to read once in the future. I felt that the movie version, while very good, left too much of the subplots unexplained or feeling rushed. No wonder since there were three long books squeezed into one movie. I feel the novels deserved better, and I’m very much curious about what else I missed of this fascinating tale.
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The story is centred on a Swedish boy called Arn who is brought up in a monastery, away from the warring factions battling for the Swedish crown. He’s taught by a former Knight Templar in the arts of war, though nobody expects that to do him any good. Yet, the boy is a good student and he enjoys learning from the French brother Guilbert, so they let him perfect his knowledge of archery and swordmanship. One important factor is his ambidexterity – which comes in handy a couple of times, no pun intended.

His life gets complicated when he falls in love with Cecilia, a maiden who is promised to an enemy faction nobleman and who he had seen at the church
many times. They decide to wed despite the problems that would bring, and spend a blissful summer together, even consummating their relationship before marriage. As usual, this leads to serious problems.
Cecilia confides in her sister about Arn and her unborn baby, giddy with her vision of the future. The sister, however, desiring a marriage of her own and an escape from the convent where all maidens spend their time before marriage, betrays her to the Mother Abbot who belongs to the faction Arn helped to defeat. The two lovers are promptly excommunicated from the church and sentenced to twenty years of penance – Cecilia as a nun under the iron fist of Mother Abbot, Arn as a Knight Templar in the Holy Land.
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While Cecilia’s harsh fate seemed to be well covered in the movie, I found myself fascinated with Arn’s adventures in the Holy Land. I wanted to see more of him and of his unique relationship with Saladin. I think that may be because I saw the shorter version of the movie – the international one – and not the one from Sweden where the books were split into two longer movies.

What I loved about the movie besides the costumes and locations was the interplay of different languages – Swedish, English, Arabic, and some French. I love it when characters speak their own tongues; I can’t stomach movies where everyone speaks perfect English even though we know it can’t be possible. An example would be Valkyrie – it was painful for me to watch a movie about Germany where everyone was speaking English all the time. Imagine the Chinese shooting a movie about America and everyone on the streets suddenly spoke perfect Mandarin. It would look ridiculous, and loose all authenticity. Therefore – kudos to the authors of this movie for not making that mistake. We are all perfectly capable of reading subtitles.

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To conclude the post; this is a movie for all knight fans, who don’t shy away from some blood and gore, but also for those who love a good romance. I won’t betray more of the movie, but I seriously recommend it to you.

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3 responses to “Popcorn Bowl 05 – Arn, the Knight Templar

  1. This design is spectacular! You most certainly know how
    to keep a reader amused. Between your wit and your videos, Iwas almst moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Wonderful job.
    I really enjoyed what you had to say, annd more than
    that, how you presented it. Tooo cool!

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