The film we watched in class was “the Return of Martin Guerre.” This story was based in the 16th century around the family farm of Martin and his wife Bertrande de Rols. The married, in part due to their families wants to join the farms together. Martin was not everything he was expected though, he wouldn’t consummate his marriage and bring children thus causing church intervention and he stole from his father. This caused Martin to flee and take life down his own path, leaving his family behind. Years later a man showed up on the outskirts of the farm saying it was Martin and being away for such a long time, the town believed him. He lived with Bertrande and fathered children with her, but when it came time for reimbursement for the family farm in his absence, the family began to question his identity. He would be questioned rigorously by the villagers and even got into physical altercations with some, yet his identity was upheld in a local trial. His uncle had researched this heavily and discovered his true identity in the trial as Arnaud de tilh, a man with a poor reputation in his own village. After a long trial the real Martin, with a severed leg, arrived and proved his identity and exposed Arnaud. Arnaud was executed and Bertrande stood be his side, believing this was her husband.
The book by Natalie Zemon Davis is very different in its approach to the story. It not only tells you varying points of view from the villagers, but it openly addresses Arnaud as an imposter. The movies let the viewer draw conclusions and try to decipher for themselves. The book, although very dry, definitely used more detail to describe the situations and the variables; however the movie gave it life. It showed how in a more emotional way that sometimes only movie can infer how the family reacts and how they progressively change their belief on if this was really Martin Guerre. Movies always tend to cut out what is not vital and what could bore the viewer, which in the case of telling history is very misleading. Leaving out details can change how a situation is perceived and change the narrative entirely