I Paladini
storia d’armi e d’amori

All you need to know about I Paladini (known in English as Hearts and Armour) is that it was written by Sergio Donati and Luciano Vincenzoni (Per qualche dollaro in più). The main difficulty is that Boorman’s Excalibur has not been appreciated as an answer to Star Wars, but that in itself gave Battiato a reason. His source is Orlando and Bradamante and Angelica and Ferrau.

Battiato understands Fellini, the camera moves laterally at an angle slowly among the tented pavilions waved by the wind and discovers something, or the editing all at once reveals a startling, finished composition, which then involves the camera in a new, apposite way.

It so happens that the set designer and the editor worked with Fellini, nevertheless there are other fish to fry, so the modulations through capital and fantastic-looking suits of armor to the forest for combat take on a truly heroical aspect in the most vigorous hand-to-hand fighting among the trees, on the dead leaves, mailed fists pummeling, as if the armor were second nature.

But there is comedy aplenty leading up to this. The precious stone of invisibility goes into the mad monk’s mouth, and pops out again when the virtuous maid unerringly finds her target with a swift kick in the empty air.

The critics seem hardly to have taken notice of this masterpiece (except, in passing, the New York Times), and there is a thicket of malevolent critique hors de combat to be faced. But really, the merest of glances tells the tale. Much furor of Charlemagne’s time, samurai fighting, supernatural scenery, a mirror to mountebanks, and the hero putting off his armor to ride away with the lady fair.