Actors Dan Poole and Giles Terera conduct their own personal odyssey through the thicket of Shakespeare. Basing their documentary on the belief that the Bard is 'difficult' for most audiences - especially those schooled in the British educational system - they interview a series of people both famous and not famous in a quest to discover why Shakespeare still remains so popular today. The territory is familiar; many documentaries on television, radio, as well as in the cinema, have attempted to popularize the Bard through a variety of strategies. What makes MUSE OF FIRE so fascinating is the two actors' commitment to the cause - despite numerous obstacles (lack of finance, time-pressure), they manage to interview many famous actors including Judi Dench, Ian McKellen, Derek Jacobi and John Hurt. For me the highlight of the documentary was the actors' trip to the United States, where they encounter Harold Bloom and Baz Luhrmann among others. Poole and Terera's enthusiasm is infectious; we share their delight as they encounter Shakespeareans in the most unlikely places in both Great Britain and the United States, and feel their sense of accomplishment when they at last manage to meet up with Luhrmann, their hero (whose ROMEO + JULIET (1996)) inspired them to become actors in the first place. Definitely worth a look.
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