Holy Grail can serve as introductory material to Arthurian mythology, presented with a Monty Python twist.
A still from Monty Python and the Holy Grail | Twitter
Last Updated: 03.37 PM, Nov 28, 2021
British humour is not everyone’s cup of tea. I know it’s not been mine. I’ve found whatever little of Brit comedy I have been exposed to cut-and-dried, and simply boring. But that was before and I’m now a changed woman. Pray tell, what led to this newfound appreciation? Why yes, it was me discovering Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
In my lumbering quest to select a topic apt enough for this column, I found not a single film that stood out or excited me even a teensy bit. Lagaan, Ashutosh Gowarikar’s masterful fictionalisation of India during the Raj, was done and dusted, as was Christopher Nolan’s slow-burning, minimalist World War II drama, Dunkirk.
While I’m not too sure of whether this little essay is going to be a standout, the film I’m writing about here sure is. Monty Python and the Holy Grail is a parody of the grand Arthurian legend that has been packaged for screen far too many times. Only recently did Dev Patel star in a Green Knight, a story that stems from an offshoot of the myth.
Holy Grail parodies the myth through a series of absurdist comic sketches – some just for gags, while some through roguish witticism mock blind reverence of the monarchs and the mighty in Arthurian tales, and the mistreatment of commoners (as shown in the peasants arguing with a visibly daft Graham Chapman’s King and the scene where a man collects plague-stricken dead bodies), and blind belief in witchcraft.
Cinema can be a great way to meld education with entertainment, the learning is far more effective. Even better with some comedy in the mix. And Holy Grail can serve as introductory material to the mythology, as long as you do your due diligence and remember to fact check. Though from whatever literature I have read on the film, it doesn’t wander too far away in terms of historical accuracy.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail is available to stream on Netflix.