Echoes of Myth: The Feature Films of John Boorman

  • Author(s): Peter Wilson Johnson
  • When: 1984-09
  • Where: University of British Columbia
  • All eight feature films (1965-1981) of John Boorman were viewed and analyzed according to Auteur Theory. The recondite themes and motifs found throughout his work revealed a preoccupation•with character and events in the Grail legend. Thematically, Boorman's rendering of the Arthurian protagonist revealed him in the modern context of the private eye, the soldier, the defrocked priest, the displaced aristocrat, and the wilderness adventurer. Merlin figures, and women figures intrinsic to the Grail legend appear in all his work. Aesthetically Boorman's feature films are veiled allegories of the Arthurian quest. Those recondite stylistic elements as abstract framing, colour distortion, elliptical editing, and overlapped and electronic sound were found to modify the cinematic conventions of those genres in which he worked. Boorman's mise-en-scene often approached the surreal. His action hovered between the world of slapstick, and the world of dream. The world-view that emerged from these feature-films makes, Boorman a religious existentialist, or an Immanentist.

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