One of the perplexing aspects about modernizing medieval literature is how much of the text’s strangeness is frequently smoothed out in current English translations. The visceral nature of the words used by the original poet is replaced with, well, something plain. Verses are stretched into paragraphs, old bawdy slang is smothered into something safe for school kids, and the visceral nature of the words used by the original poet is replaced with, well, something plain. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight has stood the test of time because it is everything but ordinary. It’s a seductive poem brimming with raw earth, lofty goals, and mystery. There’s also a strange sex game with a married couple who are best characterized as “swingers.” IMDB
David Lowery is aware of this. He has also plainly read medieval literature in addition to “Sir Gawain.” The confluence of religion and reality, as well as death and sexuality, were obsessions in medieval society. Saints’ names and pilgrimages appear in medieval writings as frequently as gruesome scenes and derogatory genitalia nicknames. The experience of reading Middle English and understanding how weird, erotic, terrifying, and sacred the narrative unfolding before you is brilliantly captured in The Green Knight.