Tag: Becket

Monsieur Vincent Reviewed in a Time of Covid

 

Monsieur Vincent and the girl

Monsieur Vincent and the girl

Monsieur Vincent is set in a time of spiritual blight and was produced in a time of spiritual blight. A French film from a “text” by Jean Anouilh, the playwright of Antigone, Becket ou l’Honneur de Dieu, and many, many more that are out of print. I found audiobooks of Antigone and Becket from LA Theater Works and snapped them up instantly, but it is bizarre that Anouilh has fallen out of print. There was a controversy at the time stemming from the production of Antigone under the Vichy government combined with the sympathetic treatment of Creon the pragmatic tyrant vis a vis Antigone the idealist that in the trauma and carnage of the just defeated Nazi occupation led no less a figure than President Charles de Gaulle to publicly express concern about Anouilh’s politics. But that is not why I asked you here. Leave it at, Anouilh was a much too fascinating to ignore like this and is expert in the juxtaposition of philosophies in conflict. Even as he tries to avoid the pointy end of the passions of the day.

Let me start over. Monsieur Vincent is set in a time of spiritual blight. He was ordained in 1600 and, according to the movie, at least, the Church was at a low ebb. It is 1617 and M. Vincent is bound for Chatillon, a town where no one is on the street, but there are rocks thrown at our hero from various doors and windows. He comes to a ruined church with squatters. It has been many years since a priest has held mass in the town. Vincent continues to the house of M. Benier, who is holding a grand orgy but will not grant Vincent entrance because “these idiots could let the plague into my house.” M. Benier has arranged for the Church to send a priest, Vincent as it happens to turn out, to improve the spiritual climate in Chatillon. Or something. The servants cover their faces and cower while allowing Vincent in at Benier’s command.