1560 on a battlefield somewhere in France, a mercenary soldier in the Catholic army, Martin Guerre, tells his friend, Arnaud du Thil, the story of his childhood. Seven years earlier in Artigat while still a youth, his Uncle Pierre Guerre, a rich landowner, arranged for him to marry his childhood friend Bertrande de Rols.
This marriage delighted the small community and they waited eagerly for Bertrande to give the family and heir. But the young Martin could not consummate the marriage. Terrible storms threatened the crops and the jealous Guillaume, rebuffed by Bertrande, convinced the superstitious villagers that Bertrande?s failure to conceive was the work of Satan. Martin became the scapegoat and was ritually beaten by the Priest, Father Dominic, to exorcise the devil. Bitter and humiliated, he left Bertrande and fled the village to start a new life.
Back on the battlefields, Martin finishes telling Arnaud his story, who now urges him to return home. The Protestant army suddenly attack and in the fight Martin is stabbed shielding Arnaud. Arnaud is forced to flee by his attackers, leaving Martin for dead.
In Artigat, Bertrande is now under pressure to re-marry and take Guillaume as her new husband. The crops are now threatened by a serious drought. Just as the village blamed Martin for the storms, they now blame Bertrande for the drought. A stranger appears and asks Benoit, the village idiot, to look for Bertrande. As if by miracle, a thunderclap is heard and the village, delirious at the prospect of rain, give the credit to the newcomer, Arnaud du Thil, and hail him as the prodigal son before he can say he really is.
Alone with Bertrande, Arnaud confesses the truth but as he tries to leave he is blocked by the villagers who will not let him go in case their recent change of fortune reverses. The relationship between Bertrande and Arnaud slowly deepens and they eventually become lovers. She confesses that that she is now a Protestant and takes him to witness their secret worship. Guillaume spies on them and realises that this is his opportunity for revenge. He incites Pierre and the villagers against the Protestants but as Guillaume threatens to kill Arnaud, Benoit hoping to save him, blurts out "he is not Martin Guerre". On the orders of Pierre, Arnaud is arrested for trial.
Meanwhile, Martin Guerre has, in fact, survived. Having recovered from his near-fatal wounds, he is on his way back to Artigat.
Arnaud is brought to trial, still claiming to be Martin. A succession of witnesses are called and Bertrande speaks movingly of the man she loves, though she is careful to avoid declaring his name. Hatred intensifies between the Catholics and the Protestants.
The judge is about to dismiss the case for lack of evidence when a last minute witness asks to be heard. Martin Guerre has returned to denounce the impostor who has stolen his name. Th judge returns his verdict: Martin is to decide Arnaud's fate and Bertrande is to be returned to him as his legal wife. However, he also condemns the village as equally guilty for the part they have played.
In an eruption of violence and death, led by Guillaume, Artigat burns. Arnaud protests to Martin his genuine belief that he'd thought Martin to be dead and Bertrande proclaims that her love is only for Arnaud and that she feels nothing for Martin. In the name of friendship, Martin decides to let them go, but before they can escape, Arnaud is stabbed, shielding Martin from Guillaume's knife and in front of the whole village, he dies in Bertrande's arms.
The book and/or lyrics is provided for informational and entertainment purposes only. No copyright infringement intended.
By clicking the download button, you agree to use the downloaded file for personal use only.