Black Death (2010) Poster

(2010)

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  • Osmund (Eddie Redmayne), a novice monk in 1348 England during the time of the first outbreak of Black Death, agrees to lead Ulrich (Sean Bean), an envoy to the Bishop, and his followers, to a village in the Great Marsh that has not yet been ravaged by the disease. Ulric believes that the village is headed by a necromancer and wants to bring him or her back for confession, trial, and execution. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Black Death is based on an original screenplay by Dario Poloni. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • The Black Death is another term for bubonic plague, caused by the Yersinia pestis bacteria and mostly spread by germ-infected fleas hitchhiking on rats. It is infamous for wiping out an estimated 25 million people in 14th century Europe. At that time, however, germs were unknown (germs were discovered by Louis Pasteur in 1860), so the scourge was blamed on either the sins of the people or on witchcraft. The name "bubonic" comes from "bubo", meaning "swollen gland". Swollen lymph nodes (buboes) in the armpit and groin were a sure sign of the infection, which typically kills in 4 to 5 days. Bubonic plague is still active today, but it is treatable with appropriate antibiotics. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • They're called "beak masks" because the shape looks like a bird's beak. Worn by doctors (and robbers) during the medieval plague, the beaks were filled with herbs and other concoctions thought to protect the wearer from "bad air". In essence, the beak masks are an early type of gas mask. Although they may not have protected against bubonic plague spread by flea bites, the masks may have offered protection against the pneumonic and septicemic forms of the disease. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • According to Wolfstan (John Lynch), one of Ulric's followers, a necromancer is someone who plucks the dead from the cold earth and breathes new life into them. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Not according to the movie. In Osmund's tromp through the swamp looking for Langiva (Carice van Houten), she admits that she used trickery and herbalism to perform the miracles people in her village expected, perhaps to make them believe that she had supernatural powers or perhaps to convince them that there was no such thing as God. When Osmund pleaded with her to resurrect Averill (Kimberley Nixon) for the second time, Langiva said that she could not, because Osmund had really killed Averill and by his own hand. Although the village had no plague so far, it wasn't because of supernatural reasons, but because of its isolation. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • After the massacre of the witch hunters and many of the villagers, Wolfstan returns the wounded Osmund to the monastery. In a voiceover, Wolfstan tells how he heard stories about Osmund's heart turning cold in the years that followed and how Osmund took up the sword, looking for Langiva in every woman he saw, torturing them and burning them as witches. Whether he actually found Langiva is unknown, as every woman looked like Langiva to him. In the final scene, Osmund burns yet another "witch", and Wolfstan says that he would like to think that Osmund eventually found peace and goodness. Edit (Coming Soon)

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