The Name of the Rose (film)  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Related e

Wiki Commons

Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Name of the Rose (original title, Der Name der Rose) is a German-French-Italian 1986 film, directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud, based on the book of the same name by Umberto Eco. Sean Connery is the Franciscan friar William of Baskerville and Christian Slater is his apprentice Adso of Melk, who are called upon to solve a deadly mystery in a Medieval abbey.


Franciscan friar William of Baskerville and his novice, Adso of Melk (narrating as an old man), arrive at an early 14th century Benedictine abbey in Northern Italy. A mysterious death has occurred ahead of an important theological Church conference. William, known for his deductive and analytic mind, confronts the worried Abbot and gains permission to investigate the death – a young illuminator appears to have committed suicide. Over the next few days, several other bizarre deaths occur, and the two gradually discover that everything is not what it seems in the abbey.

William and Adso also make the acquaintance of Salvatore, a demented hunchback who speaks gibberish in various languages, and his handler and protector, Remigio da Varagine who, as events prove, also has a shady past. William quickly deduces from Salvatore's speech that he had once been a member of a heretical sect and infers that Salvatore and Remigio may have been involved in the killings. Meanwhile, Adso encounters a beautiful semi-feral peasant girl who has apparently sneaked into the abbey to trade sexual favours for food; she seduces him, and he falls in love with her.

Investigating and keen to head off accusations of demonic possession, the protagonists discover and explore a labyrinthine library in the abbey's forbidden principal tower. William is astonished to find that it is "one of the greatest libraries in all Christendom," containing dozens of works by Classical masters such as Aristotle, thought to have been lost for centuries. William deduces that the library is kept hidden because such advanced knowledge, coming from pagan philosophers, is difficult to reconcile with Christianity. It becomes clear that the only remaining copy of Aristotle's Second Book of Poetics is somehow related to the deaths. He further deduces that all of those who died had read the book.

His investigations are curtailed by the arrival of Bernardo Gui of the Inquisition, summoned for the conference and keen to prosecute those he deems responsible for the deaths. The two men clashed in the past, and the zealous inquisitor has no time for theories outside his own. Salvatore and the girl are found fighting over a black cockerel while in the presence of a black cat. Gui presents this as irrefutable proof that they are in league with Satan and tortures Salvatore into confessing. Salvatore, Remigio, and the girl are dragged before a tribunal, where Gui intimidates the Abbot into concurring with his judgment of heresy. But William, also "invited" by Gui to serve on the panel of judges, refuses to confirm the accusations of murder, pointing out that the murderer could read Greek, a skill that Remigio doesn't possess. Gui resorts to extracting a confession from Remigio by the threat of torture, and clearly plans to take care of William for good.

When another monk succumbs like the others, William and Adso ascend the forbidden library, and come face to face with the Venerable Jorge, the most ancient denizen of the abbey, with the book, which describes comedy and how it may be used to teach. Believing laughter and jocularity to be instruments of the Devil, Jorge has poisoned the pages to stop the spread of what he considers dangerous ideas: those reading it would ingest the poison as they licked their fingers to aid in turning pages. Confronted, Jorge throws over a candle, starting a blaze that quickly engulfs the library. William insists that Adso flee, as he manages to collect an inadequate armload of invaluable books to save; the volume of Poetics, Jorge, and the rest of the library are lost.

Meanwhile, Salvatore and Remigio have been burned at the stake. The girl has been slated for the same fate but local peasants take advantage of the chaos of the library fire to free her and turn on Gui. Gui attempts to flee but they throw his wagon off a cliff, to his death. William and Adso later take their leave. A much older Adso reflects in his closing narration that he never regretted his decision to continue on with William, and that the girl was the only earthly love of his life, yet he never learned her name.


See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The Name of the Rose (film)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools