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Prospero's Books (1991)

 -  Fantasy | Drama  -  30 August 1991 (UK)
6.9
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An exiled magician finds an opportunity for revenge against his enemies muted when his daughter and the son of his chief enemy fall in love in this uniquely structured retelling of the 'The... See full summary »

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Title: Prospero's Books (1991)

Prospero's Books (1991) on IMDb 6.9/10

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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Michael Clark ...
Michel Blanc ...
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Isabelle Pasco ...
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Gerard Thoolen ...
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Jim van der Woude ...
Michiel Romeyn ...
Orpheo ...
Paul Russell ...
James Thiérrée ...
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Storyline

An exiled magician finds an opportunity for revenge against his enemies muted when his daughter and the son of his chief enemy fall in love in this uniquely structured retelling of the 'The Tempest'. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A magician's spell, the innocence of young love and a dream of revenge unite to create a tempest.

Genres:

Fantasy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

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Release Date:

30 August 1991 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

A Última Tempestade  »

Box Office

Budget:

£1,500,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$1,750,301 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

, ,  »
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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the horizontal tracking shot that follows Prospero as he makes his way through the Island, the various figures behind the opening credits are based on their allegorical association with Water (as this is an adaptation of 'The Tempest'); Peter Greenaway has confirmed that there are actually 100 figures of Biblical, Mythological, Historical relevance. The theme is further explored in another short program made for TV by Greenaway called A Walk Through Prospero's Library (1991). See more »

Connections

Version of BBC Play of the Month: The Tempest (1968) See more »

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User Reviews

Amazing Scholarship
9 July 2000 | by (Virginia Beach) – See all my reviews

Shakespeare is without peer, the man of whom Harold Bloom said he invented humanity. `The Tempest' is his richest and essentially his last play, clearly about himself and his career. John Gielgud is the finest Shakespearean actor of our age. Greenaway is the most creative, lush and introspective filmmaker working.

This film is important.

I've already had one comment some time back. But on reviewing, there are two things I'd like to point you to when you see it.

Prospero is based on Shakespeare himself of course, but also on Thomas Harriot, who was a Kabbalist. Harriot had led a mission to the new world in 1585, where he wintered over with Algonquian priests. He came back convinced of having discovered a new cosmology which he never published (because of continuing trials for heresy). But he did share with Galileo, Kepler and Descartes.

Shakespeare satirized Harriot in `Love's Labors Lost' as Holofernes, because Harriot was then allied with an opposing clique (including rival poet Marlowe). But they became close as events unfolded.

The first point is to look for Thomas Harriot's only published work, about his trip to Virginia. It is the Book of Utopias, with the paintings by artist John White. Just after that the sprites act out the Indian magical circle described by Harriot.

Second: Harriot's Kabbalah is based on 21 paths that the magician can open, and one that opens automatically as part of the game of life. Here, Greenaway has Prospero open the 21 books in weaving his magic. When he closes them, the spell recedes. The 22nd is the Book of Games, which the lovers open and close. Kabbalah provides for two `invisible' paths for creating magical artifacts. This we have in the Folio and The Tempest, numbers 23 and 24.

Gielgud suggested the collaboration, and we suppose the scholarship was a joint project. But this is deep work indeed, the only production I know that understood what the play is all about.

Greenaway says: "Theres a project, I'd like very much to do, called Prospero's Creatures' about what happened before the beginning. Sort of a prelude to The Tempest. And I've also written a play called Miranda, about what happens afterwards on the ship on the way home. It's about what happens to innocence and how it has to be destroyed."

We can only hope.


48 of 62 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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