The Name of the Rose (2019)

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If you had come to me a year ago and said “John Turtorro will star in a remake of Name of the Rose, and you will like it,” I would have laughed at you. The Sean Connery vehicle from 1986 had come out when I was a kid and thoroughly confused me, so you could probably imagine my surprise, but the bottom line is that I do love monks solving murders, so of course I’m going to give The Name of the Rose (2019) a shot.

First, there’s not a heck of a lot of costume content to talk about (I know, I know). I mean, it is monks solving murders. But the show is incredibly engaging, and John Turtorro is fabulous (nobody, after all, “fucks with the Jesus”).

Words to live by.

Mostly, it makes a lot more sense than the 1986 movie made because far more time can be devoted to Umberto Eco’s epic (in the literal sense of the word) plot over the course of eight episodes, versus one 120-minute film that is largely just Sean Connery being Sean Connery in a monk’s habit. But what this show lacks in costume content, it makes up in literally everything else, from the script (actually doing justice to Eco’s original), to the sets (OMG THE SETS), to the multi-national acting talent.

The story takes place during the Avignon Papacy, with the plot centering even further on the ideological break between the Benedictines and the Franciscans.

 

Rupert Everett is the Big Baddy, the Pope’s right-hand man, Bernardo Gui.

 

German actor, Damian Hardung (right), is the young sidekick of William de Baskerville, Adso da Melk, who becomes embroiled in the central murder mystery.

 

An interesting side plot deals with a rogue sect of Albigensians, on the run from the Papacy that is determined to stamp out every last bit of them. In the show, they’re portrayed as almost entirely women, and fairly Amazonian to boot, probably as shorthand for the fact that the Albegensians were largely gender-blind when it came to the sexes (which is in large part what got them in trouble with the conventionally misogynistic Catholic church in the first place).

 

Greta Scarano plays one of the Albigensian women central to the plot. The series’ costumes were done by Maurizio Millenotti, who did the costumes for Tristan & Isolde (2006), Anna Karenina (1997), Immortal Beloved (1994), and Hamlet (1990).

Ultimately, not every really good historical flick is going to have amazing costuming, but I feel it’s important to discuss these shows anyway. Because you never know what will really jump up and grab you, especially when you’re least expecting it.

 

Did you watch The Name of the Rose (2019)? What did you think?

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About the author

Sarah Lorraine

Sarah has an undergraduate degree in Clothing & Textile Design and a Master's in Art History and Visual Culture, with an emphasis on fashion history. When she’s not caught in paralyzing existential dread, she's drinking craft cocktails and writing about historical costume in film and television. She's been pissing people off on the internet since 1995.

10 Responses

  1. mmcquown

    It took the Roman church nearly 1000 years to make up its mind about clerical celibacy, and about 10 seconds to decide to persecute the Albigensians. This was the purge that gave rise to the infamous quote, Kill them all; God will know His own.” “Massacre at Montsegur” is a good read on the subject.

    Reply
  2. Susan Pola Staples

    I enjoyed it. Found the script a better adaptation than Sean’s. I wouldn’t mind rewatching.

    Reply
  3. Ms. Heather Ripley

    I would love to see this, thanks for bringing it to my attention. However, it’s not on Netflix, I just checked. So sad!

    Reply
  4. Roxana

    Cathars were dualists, there was a Good God and an Evil God. The latter being identified with the God of the old testament which as a Jew I find offensive. basically spirit was good and matter was evil. Reproduction was bad because it trapped souls in bodies. They also believed in reincarnation and had a very Buddhist goal of freeing themselves from the cycle. While female cathars could ascend to the role of Perfecti, ascetic leaders of the sect. The old idea of women as temptations to the flesh (matter evil) was part of Catharism and an incarnation as a man was by some considered necessary before final salvation.

    Reply
  5. florenceandtheai

    It looks like you can watch it via the Sundance Channel on Prime. I don’t know if there are other options.

    Reply

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