The fascination of everyone for the Middle Ages has become a certainty for the contemporary artistic world, which, continuing the tradition imposed by authors such as J.R.R. Tolkien, creates films, serials or novels that combine medieval props with political issues or immortal philosophical themes. A similar melange between the structure of a fairy-tale atmosphere, a parable and a family drama, all against the backdrop of a context inspired by the medieval imaginary, is ‘By Blood‘, a short film depicting the drama of a lord waiting for his death. Even if they use a cinematic formula appreciated by contemporary audiences, directors Guillaume Enard and Jonathan Delerue do not create a cheap commercial project. On the contrary, all of this scenography that reunites knights, sword fights, heraldic symbols, or austere fortresses is rather a pretext in which the two directors explore the emotional crisis of the individual with no future who is looking for the meaning of their own past that could justify them an eventual redemption. The themes dealt with by this short film cover an extensive perimeter of human soul obsessions, inspired either by a more accurate historical context (for example, the avenging bastard theme) or by our contemporaneity (for example, fear of death, obsessive past or axiological crisis).
After a life full of acts of cruelty that have assured the authority he wanted, lord Mort-Lieu has to face perhaps the most difficult test: his own death. The appearance of a masked knight at the citadel walls causes the protagonist a series of nightmares culminating in some almost fatal panic attacks. Being aware of his own old age, Mort-Lieu must confront the mysterious knight who is nothing else but an embodiment of one of his cruel acts from the past.
The (not necessarily epic, but also ethic) consistency of this project reaches, through the talent of directors Guillaume Enard and Jonathan Delerue, an excellent visual materialization that can compete with the dynamism and chromatic balance of many of the most acclaimed movies of this genre. Without being a film limited only to the strict representation of a fragment detached from the medieval context, this project satisfies the requirements of a broad public, whether elitist or not, through multiple narrative levels ranging from fantastic, parabolic and realistic. ‘By Blood’ fascinated us not only by its cinematic quality but also by the multiple layers that trigger a wide range of still current human typologies.
For the talent through which the directors illustrate the tense context of a fictional Middle Ages, for the psychological authenticity of the characters, but also for its stratified narrative that questions the crisis of the people confronted with their own death, ‘By Blood’ was awarded with the Film of the Month distinction in the November 2018 edition of TMFF.