Thursday, February 15, 2007
My colleague Marie informed me of a quirky little 1993 film written and directed by Leslie Megahey called The Advocate. Set in 15th-century France, the film stars Colin Firth as an educated lawyer who hopes to find peace and quiet in the countryside, but instead enters a world of murder, mayhem and witchcraft. Much of the film involves the trial of animals, including rats (described as "witnesses of no fixed abode") and a pig. According to the reviews I read on Rotten Tomatoes, Miramax had trouble figuring out how to categorize this somewhat anachronistic film (Roger Ebert referred to Firth's character Richard Courtois as "more Perry Mason than medieval"), which isn't quite a comedy or mystery despite having many elements of both. Accordingly, Miramax retitled the film for the American audience and urged viewers not to share the mysterious identity of the main defense client. I guess the film's original title, The Hour of the Pig, gave too much away. I quite liked the film, which I found both smart and irreverent, although I apparently only got to see the American edit, which took out 15 minutes of footage presumably of a sexual nature. Too bad. You can find a brief yet informative interview with director Megahey here on the Columbus Films website.