‘The Last Duel’ is a historical film depicting this duel between Jean de Carrouges and Jacques Le Gris, the last to be approved by the Paris Parliament. Carrouges’ wife Marguerite de Carrouges accuses Jacques Le Gris of rape. In a fit of rage, Carrouges filed a lawsuit against the man for rape in Count Pierre’s court but was later dismissed. The film then follows Carrouges’ efforts to get justice for his wife in a fight, approved by Parliament.
The ‘Last Duel’ is not only looking back to 14th-century France but also examining the gender norms and gender diversity that existed at that time. The film provides a solid foundation for understanding the characters’ conflicts over history and gender, making the film more important than ordinary historical films that portray the emptiness of masculine power.
Is The Last Duel a Real Story?
Yes, ‘The Last Duel’ is based on a real story. Three writers – Ben Affleck, Nicole Holofcener, and Matt Damon – have adapted the screenplay from Eric Jager’s 2004 book ‘The Last Duel: A True Story of Trial by Combat in Medieval France.’ The book explores the truth after Carrouges was embroiled in a battle to defeat Le Gris in greater numbers, with the help of more evidence and controversy.
Eric’s book begins with a detailed account of the events leading up to the trial and discusses a series of attempts by Carrouges to obtain a duel to assassinate his wife’s assailant. As for the historical record, in 1386, Marguerite accused Le Gris of raping her on the floor of her mother-in-law’s house while her husband was away. Le Gris and Carrouges, who were friends, were in a lot of trouble at the time of the incident, which made Carrouges very angry.
Carrouges went to Count Pierre, Le Gris’ manager, and was ridiculed as the Count dismissed the allegations, saying, “Marguerite must have dreamed of it.” He then went to Parliament and reassured them of the seriousness of his allegations, which led to an investigation into the matter. Le Gris gave evidence and alibis to prove his innocence but they did not intervene so that the investigation could reach a complete conclusion. The Last Duel.
In the absence of concrete evidence, Parliament has authorized a trial in the fight between Carrouges and Le Gris. The latter got knighted to fit the status of participants. The duel’s proposal was then explained, if Carrouges wins Le Gris’ murder, Marguerite will be absent from the false charges, and if Le Gris wins, he will be burned alive on the stake. Carrouges emerged victorious when he killed Le Gris, freeing Marguerite.
“The Last Duel.” At a press conference at the Venice Film Festival, co-author Ben Affleck explained the basis for the film’s writing, “This is a true story, one that people didn’t know. This is an incredible woman from history who is a well-known and well-documented person who spoke ill of a powerful man who attacked her. “Affleck added, they looked at each other in a different way. ”
Like many historical accounts of the past, the events leading up to the battle of Carrouges and Le Gris are also strongly opposed, with historians and journalists questioning the purity of Le Gris. Michel Pintoin’s’ Saint-Denis Chronicle ‘disputed Le Gris’ death by claiming that Le Gris was innocent and that the real assailant had pleaded guilty when he was sentenced to death for a different reason.
“The Last Duel.” ‘The Histoire de Charles VI of Jean Juvenal des Ursin also stands by the innocence of Le Gris as the account states that the real assailant confessed to the crime on his deathbed.
It is important to note that both accounts have not been verified and are 15th-century competitions, far removed from the unproven realities. Although such reports have been unsuccessful in removing the smoke around the truth, they may well have led to the conclusion of a fair trial. Disputes over the truth after Le Gris’ attack even after the war may have led Parliament to end the practice, making the war between Carrouges and Le Gris the last rivals in France. The Last Duel.
Related – Is There Will Be Blood Based on a Real Story?