Actors and close friends Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are reunited in The Last Duel, Ridley Scott’s epic drama about the rape of a noblewoman in medieval France which premieres at the Venice Film Festival on Friday.
The film tells the true story of the last lawful duel in 14th century France, when two knights squared off to determine the veracity of the woman’s claim that she was raped.
Damon stars as her husband Jean de Carrouges, fighting to avenge her and restore his family’s honour by challenging his old friend-turned-rival Jacques Le Gris, played by Adam Driver.
Affleck arrived in Venice flanked by singer Jennifer Lopez, in their first outing at an official event since they recently rekindled their romance after 20 years.
“Yes, I do consider myself a feminist,” Affleck, who in the film plays an all-powerful, macho count, told reporters.
“It was important, I thought, and interesting to tell a story that wasn’t just an indictment of one bad person, but that pointed to the cultural antecedent that Europe and countries colonised by European countries share, which is one that didn’t view women for many, many, many centuries as human beings.”
Affleck said there were residual aspects of that mentality “in the disproportionate power that men have in society” today.
The film was co-written by Affleck and Damon, the first time the two actors have worked on a script together since Good Will Hunting, the 1997 movie that won them an Oscar for best original screenplay.
“We found it in an entirely different process this time,” Damon said, recalling that when he and Affleck wrote Good Will Hunting, thousands of script pages had ended up not being used.
“One of the things that had kept us from writing for so many years was the way we wrote back in the 90s, when we were 22 and 20 years old, was really inefficient.” - Reuters
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