A Soviet adaptation of a world-famous tragedy about an aged king and how cruelly he lose his illusions.A Soviet adaptation of a world-famous tragedy about an aged king and how cruelly he lose his illusions.A Soviet adaptation of a world-famous tragedy about an aged king and how cruelly he lose his illusions.
Kozintsev is one of least sung masters of Russian cinema. His cinema is very close to that of Tarkovsky and Sergei Paradjanov. Kozintsev's Lear is not a Lear that mourns his past and his daughters--his Lear is close to the soil, the plants, and all elements of nature. That's what makes Kozintsev's Shakespearean works outstanding.
I fell in love with Kozintsev's King Lear some 30 years ago and I continue to be enraptured by the black-and-white film shot in cinemascope each time I see it. Each time you view the film, one realizes that a creative genius can embellish another masterpiece from another medium by providing food for thought---much beyond what Shakespeare offered his audiences centuries ago. Purists like Lord Laurence Olivier and Peter Brook offered cinematic versions of the play that remained true to what the Bard originally intended, only refining performances within the accepted matrices.
But Kozintsev's cinema based on the Russian translation of Nobel laureate Boris Pasternak added a "silent ghost" that was always present in Shakespeare's playnature. Mother nature is present as a visual and aural force in the two Shakespeare films of Kozintsev, more so in King Lear. Shakespeare had intended to draw parallels in nature and human beingsonly Kozintsev saw the opportunity in highlighting this. The team of Kozintsev and Pasternak took another libertythe last shot of the film includes the Fool playing his pipe, while the Bard had got rid of the Fool in Act IV of the play. Kozintsev had more than one reason for itthe Fool is akin to the chorus of Greek stage and much of Dmitri Shostakovich's haunting musical score for the film involved woodwind instruments. Further, the poor, beyond the portals of the army and the courts, occupy "screen-space" never intended in the play. Kozintsev and Pasternak remained true to the basic structure of Shakespeare only adding details that offer astounding food for thought.
I recommend this version to serious viewers. Don't miss this little known classic.
- Sep 1, 2000