Vercingetorix: The Legend of the King Druid

Vercingetorix: The Legend of the Druid King is a French film directed by Jacques Dorfmann and released in 2001 . Rejected overwhelmingly by critics and ignored by the public: The film is considered a cult film for all its faults and will be awarded three Bidets of gold in 2001 : worst film, worst actor ( Christophe Lambert ) and worst director (Jacques Dorfmann )

Synopsis

In 58 BC BC , Julius Caesar ( Klaus Maria Brandauer ) at the head of his Roman legions invaded Gaul .

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Refusing to submit to Caesar, Celtill , chief of the tribe of Arvernes , is burned publicly, under the eyes of his young son Vercingetorix ( Christophe Lambert ).

The young Vercingetorix is then collected by Rhia ( Maria Kavardjikova ), a druidess-warrior, who educates him with magical powers and the handling of the sword. Later, Vercingetorix decides to take revenge. Discovering the troubled role of Caesar, and helped by his lieutenants ( Denis Charvet and Vincent Moscato ), Vercingetorix decides to push out the Roman invader out of Gaul and tries to unite for the first time the Gallic tribes.

Visionary, but not always understanding the sibylline perorations of the Druid Guttuart ( Max von Sydow ), the Arverne hero provokes an ultimate massacre in Alesia and ends, disappointed, by going to Caesar.

Technical sheet

  • Original title: Vercingetorix or Vercingetorix: The Legend of the King Druid
  • Director: Jacques Dorfmann
  • Scenario: Rospo Pallenberg , Norman Spinrad and Jacques Dorfmann , after a story by Jacques Dorfmann and Anne de Leseleuc
  • Original music: Pierre Charvet
  • Photography: Stefan Ivanov
  • Editing: Marie Castro-Vasquez
  • Sets: Didier Naert
  • Costumes: Edith Vesperini
  • Production: Jacques Dorfmann , Claude Léger , Sandrin Patrick , Denis Charvet , Rodolphe Polin-Michaut
  • Production Companies: National Film Center , Eiffel Productions , La Mutualité Française , M6 Films , SMK Limited , TF1 International , Transfilm , Telefilm Canada
  • Distribution Companies: Columbia TriStar Video Home , Sony Pictures Video , Lolistar ( France )
  • Country of origin: France , Canada and Belgium
  • Language: French
  • Formats: Color / 35 mm / 2.35: 1 / Dolby Digital
  • Duration: 2h02
  • Genre : peplum epic reenactment drama , epic
  • Release dates:
    •  France :
    •  Canada :
    •  United States :December 11, 2001(directly on video)

Distribution

  • Christophe Lambert : Vercingetorix
  • Klaus Maria Brandauer : Julius Caesar
  • Max von Sydow : Gutuart
  • Ines Sastre : Epona
  • Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu : Dumnorix
  • Denis Charvet : Cassivelaun
  • Maria Kavardjikova : Rhia
  • Yannis Baraban : Litavic
  • Vincent Moscato : Moscatos
  • Jean-Pierre Bergeron : Diviciac
  • Aubert Pallascio : Gobannitio
  • Jean-Pierre Rives : a Teutonic leader
  • Yves Belluardo : a Gallic
  • Claude Brasseur : narrator

Home Review

At the time of its release, the film is very badly received by the critics.

  • Michel Ciment , in Positif , talks about fiasco: “Not an image that gives the impression of déjà vu, unforgettable moments of involuntary comic (…), a total absence of dramatic meaning: the fiasco is important. “
  • Aurélien Férenzci evokes in Télérama : “The bide of the century …”
  • Frédéric Bonnaudune, in Les Inrocks , classifies the work in the category: ” Z series hypertrophied. “
  • Marc Toullec, in Ciné Live , underlines the links between Christophe Lambert and John Wayne : “Credible in the role of Vercingetorix, Lambert is about as much as John Wayne in that of Genghis Khan in The Conqueror , one of the most funny casting mistakes in the history of cinema. “
  • In Chronic’Art , Nathalie Piernaz remarks: “Vercingetorix, it is simply the nullity 24 frames per second: a Christophe Lambert with a more inexpressive look than ever,” epic “battle scenes that give the impression of having been turned in a kitchen garden (…). “
  • In Le Monde , Samuel Blumenfeld: “Articulated around an ambitious project, Vercingetorix fails yet on all fronts. A disastrous interpretation, anachronistic dialogues (…) tilt the viewer into a second-degree vision. “
  • Pascal Mérigeau , in Le Nouvel Observateur , speaks: “(…) a nameless nullity (…). “
  • In Premiere , Gerard Delorme remains shocked by the disguises of Christophe Lambert : “With his various hairpieces, Christophe Lambert is more like the bass player of Spinal Tap than a Gallic chef. The battle scenes, obviously inspired by Braveheart , are far from having the readability of their model. The dialogues, sometimes too explicit, sometimes not enough, contain pearls of involuntary humor (“Gauloises, Gaulois!”) Which give the film a second degree. “
  • In Le Quotidien du Cinéma , Christophe Dordain offers an analysis of the catastrophe: “How to define the deep disgust, the immense rage that one can feel at the sight of such a disaster? Voluntarily, I propose an “analysis” of this film revolving around some key words: stupid, idiot, moron, stupid 1 . “
  • Thierry Jobin, in Le Temps , noted the many “technical errors” of the film: “Vercingetorix suffers from a thousand gaps: means when the Roman army of Caesar is summed up to thirty extras; of time when, in the same scene, the sky is sometimes radiant, sometimes stormy; of credibility, where, for want of convincing make-up, the soldiers of Vercingetorix, grossly wigged, fall stiff dead while squeezing a sword or a lance between the arm and the chest. “
  • Jean-Philippe Tessé in the magazine Urbuz states: “In front of this wave of involuntary comedy, this unshakable seriousness, this incredible sum of attempts (narrative and visual) completely missed, in front of these blatant aberrations, it is sometimes difficult to believe. “
  • Finally, the cinema site The Net surfer talks about a cult film : “Specialist turnips vintage, Christophe Lambert has probably pushed the limits of the exercise with Vercingetorix . Perhaps the most cultured film by Christophe Lambert 2 . “

Druids

The film was shot simultaneously in French and English to open up the international market.

Exploited as a live-to-video , under the title Druids , the film will be available in a reduced editing and accompanied by a jacket inspired by Braveheart . According to the rating of IMDB , Druids scores the score of 2.7 / 10 for 3,329 votes.

Chris Parry, on eFilmCritic.com , will note about the movie: “It’s like Ed Wood is trying to remake Braveheart . In Bulgaria 3 . ”

Distinctions

Bidets d’Or 2001 :

  • Worst film of the year
  • Worst actor for Christophe Lambert
  • Worst director for Jacques Dorfmann

Christophe Lambert on Vercingetorix

Several years after the disaster, Christophe Lambert will return to the film:

“As for Vercingetorix , it’s a role on paper that was” inrefusable “. It’s the French hero par excellence, it’s the guy who made France. It was a permanent slippage at the production level, at the level of funding that was not there, at the level of a director who was still extremely lax, and a result that is exactly what it should be. A big disappointment too, not only at the critical level but at the actor level. This is a big disappointment for me because I think there was material to do Braveheart , really. There was this matter but there was neither the determination nor the substance in the production and the staging 4 . ”

Lambert will add:

“The director was in every way and from the first week of filming, I realized that we went straight into the wall, it was the disaster. In this case you say to yourself: “Well, I have 4 months of shooting, it will have to be 1000% instead of one hundred. In fact, I was more of a producer, a psychologist, a second team director, I never got off the hook. This was my toughest shooting on psychological and human level 5 . ”

Anecdotes

seesections “Trivia”, “Other Details”, “Did you know? “,” Quotations “,” Around … “,  etc. , may be inappropriate in articles  (December 2012) .
  • Pierre Charvet , the composer of the music of the film, is the cousin of Denis Charvet co-producer of the film.
  • About the replica “Gauls, Gauls”, Christophe Lambert says: “I told him:” Jacques, I do not think it’s good to say Gauloises, Gaul as de Gaulle said French, French “. But what do you want to answer to a guy who says to you “But do you think it comes from where the” French, French “? This comes from “Gauloises, Gaul”, which is a historical reality. Simply, if people do not know it, and that’s what I told him, they will think about De Gaulle first and will laugh and say that we are crazy! ” 4
  • Very little discussed by French cinema, the life of Vercingetorix had, however, been the subject of a film in 1909 . Produced by Charles Pathé , Vercingetorix was out in Paris January 8, 1909 with scenes colored 6 .
  • Klaus Maria Brandauer and Max von Sydow meet after playing the two main villains (Maximilian Largo and Ernst Stavro Blofeld) of the James Bond “unofficial”, Never again , released in 1983.
  • The rugby player and comedian Vincent Moscato is credited as a Gallic warrior under the name of Moscatos.
  • During a show of the Super Moscato Show on RMC , the actors of the film Vincent Moscato and Denis Charvet return with humor on the anecdotes of the film and the criticism of this one 7 .

Errors and anachronisms

  • If one refers to what Jacques Dorfmann shows us in his film, the siege of Gergovie (with 30,000 men on the Gallic side and as much on the Roman side) did not result in any loss in the ranks of the chief arvne …
  • Celtill , the father of Vercingetorix, dies twice in the film. Burned alive in front of his son’s eyes but also, a few minutes earlier, when the cave was taken by felonious Romans. In the confusion, it is clearly seen to receive an arrow between the shoulder blades.
  • The childhood friend of Vercingetorix, whom he later took as queen, was named Epona , as the goddess of Celtic Celtic mythology . He is an imaginary character because we do not know anything about Vercingetorix’s personal life or whether he has ever been married or has ever had children. However, this is likely given that he is from the Arvne nobility and that the families of chiefs like his had to perpetuate their lineage.
  • In the final battle, a shot shows the desperate charge of the Gauls. We see Bulgarian and bearded extras running around, stop looking at the camera and start running again, some in the wrong direction.
  • The character of Epona (played by Ines Sastre ) gains a Spanish accent as an adult.
  • The oppidum of Gergovie as it is presented in the film does not correspond to the historical reality. The most recent excavations have shown that the rampart was much larger and bordered more flat than a hill. In addition, the large Gergovie Hall, where the tribal chiefs meet at the beginning of the film, is represented in a cave; the site of Gergovie being a basalt plateau , it is geologically impossible to find a cave at this place.
  • In the film, we are shown Vercingetorix raised and initiated into combat by druids after the death of his father. If it is attested that druids-warriors did indeed exist, Vercingetorix did the main part of his learning among the Romans before turning against Caesar. After the death of his father, he was probably sent to Caesar, like many children of aristocrats, he becomes a contubernales (companion tent).
  • When Vercingetorix meets Caesar for the first time in the film, it takes place on a paved Roman road that borrows the Roman general to go to Bibracte . This is also a mistake because at that time, only the roads of the cities and their surroundings were paved and not the country roads.
  • A large number of Gallic chiefs and warriors wear horned helmets and winged helmets, which corresponded to a certain vision of the Gauls given by archaeologists who discovered helmets during excavations with raised wings as they fell back on their heads. ears; this vision was popularized in Asterix . We now know that the Gallic helmets did not have wings or horns.
  • In the scene where Vercingetorix is elected King of the Arverns at Gergovie, he is hoisted on a shield. But it is not proven that the Gauls carried their leaders on a shield, contrary to the hypothesis popularized in Asterix . There is no document officially attesting that this was really the case with the Gauls, although there is no document to prove the opposite. This custom comes rather from the Franks , a few centuries later.
  • In the film, we are told about the city of Bourges that Vercingetorix renounced to burn to stop the Roman legions and cut supplies at the request of the population; this city will then be burned by Caesar himself who will massacre the population during the siege of Avaricum . The use of the name of Bourges is in fact an anachronism because the oppidum was then called Avaricum and was the capital of the Gallic people Bituriges Cubes.
  • Contrary to what is shown in the film, Marcus Junius Brutus , adopted son of Caesar and one of his future assassins, was not present in Gaul at his side at the time of the events of the year -52. In the film, he is shown as often in disagreement with Caesar and reproaching him for his cruelty, especially for the siege of Avaricum, in order to justify in the minds of the spectators the future fate of Caesar, to which Brutus will take part and which is summarized in the narrator’s final speech.
  • During the preparation of the rescue army by the General Assembly of Gauloises, to help Vercingetorix and his troops besieged in Alesia , it is decided that it will be led by four generals: Viridomaros , a leader of the Eduens ; Commios , king of the Atrebates ; Vercassivellaunos (reduced and French in Cassivelaun), a leader of Arverns , also cousin of Vercingetorix and Litaviccos (French in Litavic), another leader of the Eduens . Only the first three correspond to the leaders of the rescue army appointed by Caesar in the Commentaries on the Gallic War ; the fourth was actually Eporedorix , another Eduen and not Litaviccos chief, who joined Vercingetorix in Gergovie and apparently did not leave him afterwards. Caesar does not mention whether Litaviccos dies or not during the Gallic Wars, or what is his final fate, while in the film, we see him die killed during the assault repelled by the first riders at the headquarters of Alesia. It seems that the character of Litavic in the film is in fact a mix of the two historical editors Litaviccos and Eporedorix. For others, Vercassivelaunos was captured by the Romans during the siege of Alesia and Commios managed to flee to Brittany with some members of his tribe of Atrebates. On the other hand, the fate of Viridomaros and Eporedorix is unknown.
  • We see stirrups on all the horses of the film. Yet they appear for the first time as from the th century.

Notes and references

  1. ↑ Criticism Vercingetorix  [ archive ]
  2. ↑ Article on The Internet User  [ archive ]
  3. ↑ Critical Druids  [ archive ]
  4. ↑ a and b Interview of Christophe Lambert by Laurent Pécha  [ archive ] .
  5. ↑ Interview: Christopher Lambert: Vercingetorix , the worst experience of my life  [ archive ] .
  6. ↑ Catalog of the 1908 French fiction film 1918 Raymond Chirat Eric Le Roy, French Cinematheque, Film Museum 1995.
  7. ↑ DaviD ChuckyRMC , ” Full delirium on” Vercingetorix “in the Moscato Show – 2015 01 14 ”  [ archive ] , (accessed April 28, 2016 ) .

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