Sarah Ifft Decker, a medieval historian, explores how movies, tv, and books depict the medieval world. What did they get right? What did they get wrong? And what do they tell us about how modern people think about the medieval past?
CW for rape/sexual assault/murder
So ... this movie was pretty rough? Sarah and returning guest Morgan Morales talk about problematic portrayals of sexual violence, plus ideas about purity, piety, and martyrdom, in the second film of our medieval Ingmar Bergman retrospective. RIP, Max von Sydow - while we stand by our plot and character critiques he gave an incredible performance.
Media-eval is prepared to continue through this period of social distancing, as all recording is already done remotely. Stay healthy and safe!
Sarah and returning guest Morgan Morales tackle the crisis of the fourteenth and twentieth centuries in Ingmar Bergman's 1957 film The Seventh Seal. Join us as we wonder yet again why people think the Black Death immediately followed the Crusades. This will be the first of a two-part discussion on Bergman's medieval-inspired films.
CW: consent issues/threatened sexual assault
In honor of the often unrecognized work done by women in film (*cough* Oscars 2020 *cough*)Sarah and guest Kourtnea Hogan cover Le Moine et la Sorciere, known in English as Sorceress, directed by Suzanne Schiffman. Join us as we delve into what they got right and wrong about the true story of a dog venerated as a saint in medieval France! CW for sexual assault; dog death
Looks like Media-eval accidentally ended up with the world's worst monthly theme: it's Inquisition January, I guess? Join Sarah and fellow medievalist Kevin Lord as we delve into heresy, medieval debates about poverty, whether Christ laughed, and how The Name of the Rose (2019) managed to make eight hours of television and still (spoiler alert) not have a single surviving named female character. CW for rape (again...), torture, and negative portrayal of a disabled character.
Sarah and guest Elaine Pauls had a LOT to say about Berserk! Join us as we get into portrayals of medieval violence and narratives of progress, taking religion seriously, and the history of the Inquisition in Media-eval's first non-Western depiction of a medieval European-inspired universe. CW: this anime series includes a LOT of graphic violence, torture, and sexual assault; we address this in detail during the episode.
Happy Holidays from Media-eval! Sarah and guest Meghan Griffin watched Netflix Christmas offering The Knight Before Christmas and ... well, we have thoughts. Join us as we discuss the least religious knight in medieval Europe; the history of Christmas traditions; and the weird idealization of both 21st-century American cops & 14th-century knights.
Sarah and guest Shannon Campe (Little Women: A Modern Audio Drama) tackle Elizabeth, in which 20+ years become 2 and loyal adherents inexplicably become traitors! In an unsurprising turn of events, Baby Theon Greyjoy betrays his family; in a more surprising turn of events, James Bond crosses himself a lot.
Ever wanted to hear two scholars of medieval Iberia get very, very annoyed? Then this is the episode for you! Sarah and guest Kyle Lincoln get into the politicization of medieval "Spanish" history under the Franco regime - and wonder why the 1961 El Cid movie cut out most of the Cantar de Mio Cid.
Sarah and guest Ally Pitts (Russophiles Unite! Movie Podcast) discuss medieval gender roles, raiding and trading, and the mystery of how all those snakes made it to England in the TV show Vikings (Season 1).
CW for rape/sexual assault, as well as for regular uncritical use of the term Anglo-Saxon - as a Mediterraneanist, I was not aware of the debates surrounding this term until after having recorded this episode.
As listeners may guess, this episode was actually recorded before the 13th Warrior episode - hence my not knowing who Vladimir Kulich is, and my characterization of this as the first appropriate use of a Viking funeral.
As the Oracle hath foretold, on this day, the host shall become the guest ... that's right! It's Media-eval's first podcast-iversary and original co-host Ollie is back to talk with Sarah about his favorite movie, The 13th Warrior!
This is a long one because Sarah and guest Morgan Morales couldn't stop gushing about both Eleanor of Aquitaine and Katherine Hepburn. Join us as we discuss the soap opera that is the Plantagenet royals of England, medieval use of classical references, and how Henry II was not, in fact, a decade older than the Pope.
Sarah and guest Ben Paul watch classic 1964 film Becket - one of the first medieval movies Sarah ever saw, and one of the many movies for which Peter O'Toole was robbed of an Oscar. Join us for a discussion of piercing blue eyes, what happened to Becket's tomb, and whether Thomas Becket is really the worst Englishman in history. Also, get ready for next week - this episode will be followed by its unofficial sequel Lion in Winter, in which Peter O' Toole reprises his role as Henry II!
CW: Sexual assault; suicide
Recommended book: Hawkwood (https://www.amazon.com/Hawkwood-Diabolical-Englishman-Stonor-Saunders/dp/0571219098)
Medievalist and stand-up comedian Mabel Slattery introduces Sarah to Maid Marian and Her Merry Men, a British children's show that makes Marian the real hero - and Robin Hood a very unimpressive figure. Join us as we discuss the origins of the Robin Hood legend and the challenges of robbery in a cash-poor society, while Mabel gives Sarah (who had never heard the word "snooker" before) a crash course in British culture.
Sarah and guest Megan Tripp of Not Another Bad Movie Podcast talk about a classic (?) good-bad medieval movie, Season of the Witch - Nic Cage's first appearance on Media-eval, but Ron Perlman's second. Come for the bizarre choice to move the Crusades forward a century in time; stay for the claim that a pair of knights ended the Black Death forever by murdering a demon; explore the question of if this movie has any female characters.
CW for brief mention of rape and torture.
Sarah and fellow medievalist Abigail Agresta talk about why there's no Eustace VIII, medieval attitudes toward lepers, and the challenges of setting a forensic-evidence-based mystery series in medieval England in our discussion of the ITV series Cadfael. This is also the first Media-eval episode where everyone is in the same room ... and that room was in Barcelona! CW: for discussion of rape/sexual assault in one episode.
It's the one with the sexy fox! In a discussion of Media-eval's favorite Robin Hood so far, Sarah and guests Dawn and Ileana talk about the sad absence of Eleanor of Aquitaine, childhood crushes on animated foxes, animals in medieval bestiaries, and the real reason Disney reused animated sequences.
Sarah and guest Maeve Doyle get into witch burning, burial of Black Death victims, and medieval marginalia in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Enjoy Media-eval's very first episode with not one, but TWO medievalists!
Sarah and Ollie watch one of the worst movies of 2018. If you've ever wanted to see the Crusades depicted as a Church plot to depose the king AND the War in Iraq, our discussion of Robin Hood is the podcast episode for you.
Join Ollie, Sarah, and special guest Tracy Tanoff for what turned out to be another extra NSFW episode ... since like all other reviewers of Outlaw King, we talked about Chris Pine's role as "Richard the Bruce" almost as much as his role as Robert the Bruce."
Poetry, fancy prostitutes, AND the Inquisition? Join Ollie and Sarah as we move forward in time to discuss Dangerous Beauty, a movie about real early modern woman Veronica Franco! It even passes the Ifft Decker test AND the Bechdel test.
Sarah visited Medieval Times with guests Dawn Gildenmeister and Benjamin White - and she has thoughts. Join us for this special episode in which Sarah, Dawn, and Benjamin chat about terrible maps of Spain, medieval ruling queens, and exciting dressage at the Medieval Times Restaurant!
Dawn Gildenmeister joins us this week as we talk about one of our favourite films- A Knights Tale.
Don't expect any sort of proper criticism here. This movie is a barrel of fun.
Ollie's audio is a little funky in this but it is listenable. Enjoy!
Romeo and Juliet? Lancelot and Guinevere?
Before these famous couples we had one that was more star crossed and more betraying than both of those combined.
Sit down and strap in as Sarah and Ollie discuss some of the most foolish teenagers in literary history.
Join us as we discuss the little known and pretty strange adaptation of the 47 Ronin legend. Clive Owen turned down James Bond. Bet it feels like a poor choice now.
Morgan Freeman never turned down anything.
We had fun on this one and sorry for the background noise!
Join Sarah and Ollie as we talk about the mid 90's Medieval RomCom First Knight.
Its a movie that features a lot of smoldering looks and also a lot of men being complete tools.
CW: We discuss consent "laws" in the middle ages and it gets quite intense.