sword play

Reclaiming the Blade

Reclaiming the Blade is a documentary about the lost European Martial Arts of the sword, and the lost appreciation for the art of swordsmithing. They do touch on Kendo, but it it is more to show what the west lost with the advent of firearms.

The film constantly denigrates fencing, and recreation societies like the SCA, insisting that they, like filmmakers have little to nothing to do with the classical art of swordplay. While I agree, the constant repetition of this point eventually made me sigh as it continued.

The last section of the film is a cry of anguish regarding how poorly true swordplay is represented in film. I had to laugh when one gentlemen took on the Zorro Z cut with so much seriousness.

They do list a few films they like, but I felt they strayed a little bit from the point of the documentary. Eventually, they do thank the high fantasy films for maintaining interest in the sword, but it felt like an afterthought.

Overall, the movie is interesting, and covers the topic well, though I did feel like they were constantly trying to convert me to their point of view. The sword is important to the history of the world. I agree. There is no reason to thank pop culture swordplay for maintaining interest in the blade, then in the next breath go after pop culture for not being realistic. After all, the point of the film is that these arts were lost and are now being resurrected. I am not sure why that bothered me so much. It is probably because I have written my share of sword fights, and felt slighted by the fair accusation of not knowing what I was talking about.

The music was the biggest problem with the film, and when that is the main critique, you know I am stretching to find one.  It was very, well, the best word I can think of is soothing, except when they break out the heavy metal guitars to prove that real swordplay is hard core. I mention it because the soundtrack did the one thing a good soundtrack should never do, it drew attention to itself. I was pulled out of the narration a couple times by the music, but it is not that big a deal.

If you are interested in the sword, than definitely check it out. It was worth the time, and I learned a few things from it. I do wish they would have spent more time with the swordsmith. He was one of the most interesting people they interviewed, and he left me wanting to know more,