With a friend desperate for money, a merchant takes out a loan from a ruthless money-lender. Confident that his ships will soon be bringing him great wealth, the merchant willingly agrees ... See full summary »
With a friend desperate for money, a merchant takes out a loan from a ruthless money-lender. Confident that his ships will soon be bringing him great wealth, the merchant willingly agrees to conditions of the loan that put him at great personal risk. Written by
Shakespeare used Italians in his plays as a sort of legendary people, removed from London norms. The general impression of them was that they were inherently theatrical: superficial in the sense that their lives are simple and easy to read, plus they dressed and behaved foppishly.
This is a play that is inherently anti Italian and which incidentally has a Jew who seeks revenge for his "abducted" daughter. But his actions aren't because he is a Jew, nor a "ruthless" moneylender. They are because he is in Italian society.
Now we have this little film, made by Italians, laboriously and garishly colored, featuring only the part of the story involving the Jew. This by itself makes it worth watching, to see how the land of Dante deals with the second generation of language mastery. Even though there are no spoken words in this, one can see how they think the language should be illustrated.
Dante's language is a matter of strict cadence with some rise and fall all dedicated to flourishes in the imagery (much like painting a carefully structured facade). Shakespeare's language is a matter of the words themselves using meter and structure with the intent of leaving it and examining their limits.
But these Italians wouldn't know that, nor that the story itself is structured around that ignorance.
Curiously, Portia is the least attractive woman in the play.
Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.
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