Kaamelott, Disney, Monty Python … how the myth of King Arthur went global

The film Kaamelott comes out this Wednesday, July 21 at the cinema. We are republishing on this occasion an interview with historian William Blanc dating from 2016, in a reissued version.

The myth of King Arthur was not born in France. How did he become so popular in our country?

William Blanc. It comes through American popular culture, from the 1960s. There are of course the films “Lancelot du lac” by Robert Bresson (1974) and “Perceval le Gallois” by Eric Rohmer (1978), but these films do. barely 100,000 entries each. That’s a lot less than the millions of spectators of “Monty Python: Sacred Grail!” “(1975) and” Excalibur “by John Boorman (1981). These successes are a reaction to the disappearance of the peasantry from the Western world. “Montaillou, Occitan village from 1294 to 1324”, appeared in 1975 in the middle of Larzac, it is no coincidence.

Arthur also arrives through comics – Chevalier Ardent is a copy of Prince Vaillant – but also through fantasy, with Marion Zimmer Bradley and his “Avalon Cycle”, which emphasizes the role of the fairy Morgane. So much so that the Arthurian myth made a comeback in the 1980s. In 1991, Alan Stivell released the album “The Mists of Avalon”, an obvious reference to Marion Zimmer Bradley’s book.

And in 2005, arrives the series of Alexandre Astier, “Kaamelott”, of Alexandre Astier…

It is certainly the most important French-speaking Arthurian work of the last two centuries, by its scope – tens of hours of program – but has

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