Title of movie The return of Martin Guerre
”The Return of Martin Guerre,” is a French film that recounts the story of Martin Guerre, a peasant from the medieval times, the events of which were actually based on real 16th century trial records from Southern France. This tale has an interesting premise and inspired a number literary works such as plays and novels as well as some historical studies.
The movie is about a man returning to a village after more than a decade’s absence, and claiming to be Martin Guerre, took on his life and lived with Guerre’s wife for a couple of years. The people never really questioned his identity as he knew a lot of details about his family and friends. All was well until Martin had a falling-out with his uncle regarding land ownership. The uncle’s greed leads him to file for a court proceeding accusing Martin of being an impostor, and thus have no rightful claim to the properties.
Much of the movie is made up of court trials in an attempt to uncover the truth. The tension arises from the controversy as to whether he’s an impostor or not, and how it was possible that the people close to him, particularly his wife could not have known whether or not he is one. The movie deals with the issue of justice and how the law operates during that time. It was enlightening to know the laws of jurisprudence that govern the land and that notwithstanding the harsh and barbaric punishments of the era, there were actually reasonable and thoughtful judges at the time.
It is also a commentary on the people’s attitude regarding property and money, the things people do for financial gain, and how something that starts with a not-so-noble motivation can can be allowed to go on when the people involved are happy with the arrangement. It also explores the issue of the sanctity of marriage and allows the viewers’ minds to draw comparisons to more contemporary issues.
It provides various social commentaries that leaves the viewer to speculate on the nature of morality, values, and ethics in the 16th century. Through a superb and realistic rendition of 16th century life in farm, village, and court scenes, the viewer experiences how it is to live during that time.