A young friend of mine – whom I had the privilege of writing with in a class he took from me when he was very young (he’d already had three short stories published by then) – premiered a movie for which he conceived the idea, wrote the screenplay, directed and edited. For the complete story, read the article here:
As I shared the basic idea with my daughter’s good friend –
a teenager’s favorite hat, one he wears only on the weekend, disappears so he
sets off to find it and ends up crossing with gangs and twisting and turning
with humor in what is billed as a “thriller with comedic twists” – I suddenly realized
that I was watching LORD OF THE RINGS the next night (talk about comedic
My reflections on WEEKEND HAT and LORD OF THE RINGS abruptly
began to range all over the place, lighting on MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL
as well as other modern interpretations of the legend like THE FISHER KING, and
THE DA VINCI CODE. Ancient literature
such as Conte de Grale, Percival, Morte dArthur depends heavily on the legend, but modern lit and
speculative fiction in particular has mined the trope. From Samuel R. Delany’s Nova, to Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Darkover books, to Judith Tarr’s Kingdom of the Grail, Elizabeth Bear’s Grail, and Charles Stross’ Accelerando and the expectation that
someday Humanity will transcend itself with the help of technology.
“Why is the Grail legend, traditionally known as an emblem
of Christianity, still so popular in a culture that has generally turned away
from traditional religion? How does a legend steeped in medieval
supernaturalism thrive amid modern skepticism and secular humanism? How does
the Grail maintain relevance long after the culture that created it?” (The
Science Fiction Film Reader by Greg Rickman)
This myth; this powerful image is diminished and made simple
by our longing for a trinket or place or loved one taken too soon – something that
I have lost or had taken from me. The concept seems echoed in everything we do.
From the loss of the cup Jesus and his followers used to
drink and dine during the very first Jewish Passover that became Christian Communion
to civilizations far flung in both time and technology seeking their origins,
lost fleets, sons or daughters of Emperors or even the “glory of forgotten days”
– all of these are recreated in speculative fiction of the past and today.
The Quest for the Holy Grail with its cascade of amplifying
and diminishing movies and literature is also reflected in a little movie by a
great young adult in the arts-friendly city of Minneapolis.
If you’d like, please share any other reflections of the
Holy Grail you’ve read or watched lately!