Prospero, a potent magician, lives on a desolate isle with his virginal daughter, Miranda. He's in exile, banished from his duchy by his usurping brother and the King of Naples. Providence ... See full summary »
A dramatization, in modern theatrical style, of the life and thought of the Viennese-born, Cambridge-educated philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951), whose principal interest was the ... See full summary »
Against a plain, unchanging blue screen, a densely interwoven soundtrack of voices, sound effects and music attempt to convey a portrait of Derek Jarman's experiences with AIDS, both ... See full summary »
A film with no spoken dialogue, just follows the music and lyrics of Benjamin Britten's "War Requiem, which include WWI soldier poet Wilfred Owen's poems reflecting the war's horrors. It ... See full summary »
A young officer in the army of Empress Catherine of Russia is on his way to his new duty station at a remote outpost. During a blinding snowstorm he comes upon a stranger who was caught in ... See full summary »
A nearly wordless visual narrative intercuts two main stories and a couple of minor ones. A woman, perhaps the Madonna, brings forth her baby to a crowd of intrusive paparazzi; she tries to... See full summary »
Ten short pieces directed by ten different directors, including Ken Russell, Jean-Luc Godard, Robert Altman, Bruce Beresford, and Nicolas Roeg. Each short uses an aria as soundtrack/sound (... See full summary »
Prospero, Duke of Milan, usurped and exiled by his own brother, holds sway over an enchanted island. He is comforted by his daughter Miranda and served by his spirit Ariel and his deformed ... See full summary »
Prospero, a potent magician, lives on a desolate isle with his virginal daughter, Miranda. He's in exile, banished from his duchy by his usurping brother and the King of Naples. Providence brings these enemies near; aided by his vassal the spirit Ariel, Prospero conjures a tempest to wreck the Italian ship. The king's son, thinking all others lost, becomes Prospero's prisoner, falling in love with Miranda and she with him. Prospero's brother and the king wander the island, as do a drunken cook and sailor, who conspire with Caliban, Prospero's beastly slave, to murder Prospero. Prospero wants reason to triumph, Ariel wants his freedom, Miranda a husband; the sailors want to dance. Written by
Into this primordial mix, add some seventeenth century magic, and you have Shakespeare's "The Tempest", a play whose themes are: freedom, temperance, repentance, and forgiveness. The main difference between Shakespeare's play and Derek Jarman's film is, of course, the nearly four hundred years of change in theatrics that separate the two artists.
Jarman's version tries to adhere to the play, in that the film uses quasi-Elizabethan linguistics, which renders the dialogue difficult to understand. The play's intent is still intact in the film, if a little obscured by the language, and is conveyed mostly through the acting and the cinematography, though "adapted" in style to a more contemporary audience. Hence, the film's inventive finale features a vocal rendition of "Stormy Weather", a modern metaphor for a message that spans the ages.
Even with the updated visuals, this film is going to be a bit much for most viewers. It is just too out of sync with what modern audiences expect. On the other hand, for those few who appreciate Shakespeare, the film can be insightful, with the proviso that it is not "pure" (or literal) Shakespeare.
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