'The Green Knight' Director David Lowery Shares The Five Movies That Inspired Him

The Green Knight has been building buzz, and now writer-director David Lowery is here to tell you about some of the influences on his acclaimed new A24 film. Our own review of The Green Knight awarded it a 10 out of 10, and if you're a fan of movies like Bram Stoker's Dracula, The Dark Crystal, The Passion of Joan of Arc, Marie Antoinette, and/or Willow, then listening to Lowery talk about them in a new video should get you further excited for The Green Knight.The Green Knight stars Dev Patel as a knight of King Arthur's Round Table, who accepts the challenge to land a blow on a leafy, arboreal, Ent-like creature (the titular "Green Knight," played by Ralph Ineson), only to realize that said creature is capable of having its head cut off and then cackling, still very much alive. It rides away on its horse with a promise of enacting a return blow on the knight "one year hence." Basically, this means Patel's character could only have one year to live.

He sets out on an adventure, and with Lowery at the helm, the film promises to be a singular adaptation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, a tale of chivalric romance and Arthurian legend that dates back to the 14th century. Since his sophomore feature Ain't Them Bodies Saints emerged with the Grand Jury Prize at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, Lowery has made a name for himself with the likes of Pete's Dragon, A Ghost Story, and The Old Man & The Gun. Now, he's returning for The Green Knight.

The Green Knight Influences

If the talking fox in the trailer for The Green Knight put you in mind of a similar animal groaning "Chaos reigns" in Lars von Trier's Antichrist, then you weren't alone. As you can see in the video above, however, it's another, more Gothic, romance-infused horror film, Bram Stoker's Dracula, that Lowery highlights as the first entry on his list of five films that helped inspire The Green Knight. This list comes as part of the Alamo Drafthouse's retrospective "Guest Selects" series, where the beloved movie-eatery chain invites its favorite filmmakers, writers, and performers to program films that they deem essential big-screen experiences in its theaters nationwide.

Lowery talks about the striking production and costume design in Bram Stoker's Dracula, Francis Ford Coppola's 1992 "love letter to cinema in all of its many-splendored possibilities," as he calls it. He also talks about the tactility and pacing of Jim Henson and Frank Oz's 1982 dark fantasy film, The Dark Crystal, and recommends the 2019 Netflix prequel series, The Dark Crystal: The Age of Resistance, which we also recommended last year.

After that, Lowery talks about the extreme close-ups and sense of pure visual storytelling in Carl Theodor Dreyer's 1928 French classic, The Passion of Joan of Arc. He calls it "one of the great silent films of all time," and follows it up by jawing about Sofia Coppola's 2006 period drama Marie Antoinette, which he feels is underrated (as do I). Finally, he discusses the technical aspects and overall impact that another dark fantasy film, Ron Howard's 1988 Willow, had on him as a young film-lover. We also revisited Willow on its 30th anniversary back in 2018.

It's always fascinating to hear filmmakers dissect their influences like this, so the video above is definitely worth checking out, as are any of the films Lowery lists, especially Bram Stoker's Dracula and The Dark Crystal, which Alamo will be screening in its theaters this September. The Green Knight hits theaters this Friday, July 30, 2021.