The Shakespeare tragedy that gave us the expression "How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child." King Lear has not one but two ungrateful children, and it's ...
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King Lear, old and tired, divides his kingdom among his daughters, giving great importance to their protestations of love for him. When Cordelia, youngest and most honest, refuses to idly ... See full summary »
Everything returns to normal after Chernobyl. That is, everything but art. Most of the great works are lost, and it is up to people like William Shakespear Junior the Fifth to restore the ... See full summary »
Ian McKellen gives a tour-de-force performance as Shakespeare's tragic titular monarch in this special television adaptation of the Royal Shakespeare Company production of one of the playwright's most enduring and haunting works.
An aging monarch resolves to divide his kingdom among his three daughters, with consequences he little expects. His reason shattered in the storm of violent emotion that ensues, with his ... See full summary »
King Lear is an in-depth study of love, power and death. Through this film Shakespeare is saying, "Don't blame the gods or the heaven's for the horrors committed on earth. No. Blame hellish inhumanity on those who inhabit the earth."
Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, returns home to find his father murdered by Claudius, Hamlet's uncle. Claudius usurps the throne of Denmark, and marries Hamlet's recently widowed mother. Hamlet is tormented, haunted, and increasingly unstable.
The Shakespeare tragedy that gave us the expression "How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child." King Lear has not one but two ungrateful children, and it's especially galling because he turned over his entire kingdom to them. Paul Scofield is an ancient, imposing shell of a Lear tormented by his too-long life as well as by daughters he calls "unnatural hags." At one point, the king looks his eldest daughter, Goneril (Ireme Worth), straight in the eye and declares, "Thou art a boil, a plague-sore, of embossed carbuncle in my corrupted blood." These are the troubles not even the best-trained family counselor could ever hope to resolve. Written by
Filmways also produced Tony Richardson's " Hamlet" and the 1968 version of " A Midsummer's Nights Dream ". They had planned to film the Polanski " Macbeth " , but pulled out at the last minute. See more »
Not only is there no music in the film, but there are no "ambient sounds" at all during the opening credits, giving the impression that they were filmed using no soundtrack whatsoever. See more »
in a moment of irony that could occur only in cinema, the definitive version of Shakespeare's 'king Lear' is Kurosawa akira's 1985 'ran'. only Kurosawa - at the end of his own career and looking back at at a century of blindness socially and politically, that dragged his culture through the horrors of the Tojo regime and the second world war - could grasp the essential insight of Shakespeare's vision of political perversion arising from simple but fundamental personal mistakes in judgment.
brook, of course, doesn't go after that. in fact, the issues just noted have been missed just about entirely by every American and British version of the play i've seen, even Laurence Olivier's farewell performance on television just before he died.
so when we come to brook's film, we have to let go of the hope that this will be the 'ur-Lear' that we seem to have misplaced in the west ever since the Elizabethan era.
in fact, let's let go of Shakespeare completely, here - this is a peter brook film, and brook is actually after something fundamentally cinematic - but not necessarily Shakespearean.
brook's film is a relentless portrayal of the world turned upside down. the most memorable quality of the film - and it stuck to me for many years - is the camera work, that gets unsteadier and more rapidly cut as the film goes on, until the audience feels trapped inside a house in a hurricane - and one that's quickly falling apart.
to find some ground in this visual catastrophe, the audience will desperately grab onto Shakespeare's words or the fine performances by the wonderful cast - but be warned - that's not really going to help much, and it's not supposed to.
brook, who made his name by approaching theatrical stage performances in a rather daring visual style, clearly wanted to see how far he could push the medium - the audience will have to decide whether he's successful - but the effort itself is worthy of respect.
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