Podcast: The Cinematic Middle Ages

Jo Livingstone on The Green Knight


About half-way through viewing David Lowery’s new movie The Green Knight, I knew that I was going to watch it again. It’s not just that the movie, a revisionist adaptation of the anonymous chivalric romance Sir Gawain and The Green Knight, is a delight: visually sumptuous, convincingly strange in the archaic world it creates, strongly acted, allusive not just to Arthurian lore but also films like Vertigo and The Last Temptation of Christ. Beyond that, it’s a movie that provokes thought as well as pleasure. It’s layered and dense and there is much to unravel in the uncanny narrative and the way it serves as a fun house mirror image of its medieval sources.

Eager to talk about the film, I naturally turned to my friend Jo Livingstone who is doubly qualified. Jo received a doctorate in medieval literature and postcolonial studies from NYU and  is a cultural critic for The New Republic. They wrote a characteristically insightful review of the movie. Versed in both the medieval culture and movies, Jo is the perfect person to both celebrate the movie and plumb its depths. 

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