Posts Tagged ‘Shakespeare’

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This short story is literally MacBeth set on Mars. It’s based on my screenplay.

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I’m going through the Sundance picks. This is one of the most intense shorts I’ve seen in a while.

Slings-and-Arrows

 

Great Canadian TV show for grown-ups.  For some reason America can’t produce TV for adults, unless it’s loaded with violence, torture and crime.  Pretty much everything else here is neutered for 8th graders or else amped up with skin on HBO and Showtime until it’s more like soft-core porn.

I stumbled across Slings and Arrows on Amazon Prime, where it was the highest rated show probably on the site.  Mark McKinney, one of the Kids in the Hall, is a co-creator.  He also plays the inept, sniveling director of a Shakespearean theater company.

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The story is about a theater director, who’s at the edge of sanity, a bit like Hamlet, and who is visited by the ghost of his mentor throughout the series. Cast includes all sorts of interesting people, and the battle between commercialism and art plays out over the course of the four seasons of the show.

It actually wraps up neatly, rather than milking it.  Each season concerns a different production of a Shakespeare play, and the themes of the play cross over into the lives of the theater characters.

 

 

Shakespeare set in modern times, this film might remind people of the 1995 Richard III, set in a fascist World War Two scenario. Here the war is modern and messy, but the language is the original play. It’s an odd discordant meshing of new and old.

I hadn’t known the story of Corialanus and didn’t know what to expect. Some interesting twists of fate, and even more interesting visuals reminiscent of the Arab Spring or street battles in Greece, make this an interesting experience to take in.

Ralph Fiennes, who starred and directed the film, plays a Roman general so fanatical in his bloodlust and drive to conquer that he has become a bit of a monster. When it comes time for him to enter the world of Roman politics he falters. The elites of Rome, of which Corialanus is a member, consider the common people as sub-human scum. While other Patricians easily lie and mislead the rabble, Corialanus is far too proud and arrogant to hold his tongue. He winds up in hot water.

Then comes the big twist of the story’s midpoint.

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The visual style has really made this 400 year old story accessible and relevant. Revolution by the people, elites who despise the commoners, dictators, politics, fascistic militarism, worship of the soldiers, that Shakespeare guy was well ahead of his time. Aspects of the story fit seamlessly in with the tanks and shock troops.

Corialanus on Netflix.

By Jennifer Epps

Director Roland Emmerich makes a huge transition, from tentpole disaster flicks to literary whodunit, in the period piece Anonymous — which came out on DVD this month and was nominated for an Oscar for Best Costume Design. This speculative fiction feature asks whether Shakespeare was a fraud and comes up with an elaborate answer. This is not just a cultural curiosity. Those of a political bent should take note of the film – which doesn’t mean I recommend seeing it. But it is of political importance.

First of all, it is a conspiracy theory, and really, it’s becoming more and more important to be able to analyze conspiracy theories, whether from the left or the right. Anonymous seizes on the discussions that have been raging among researchers for some time now, and that seem to be gaining steam: for example, an M.A. in Authorship Studies, apparently the first of its kind, has been launched at Brunel University in London. Anonymous fashions from these speculations a period piece that claims William Shakespeare was not the real author of the 38 plays attributed to him – someone else was.

Conspiracy

However, Anonymous offers few points to dismantle the view held for centuries that middle-class Will Shakespeare, the actor who came to London from the backwater of Stratford-upon-Avon, wrote the plays. Derek Jacobi touches on only a couple points in an introductory monologue he delivers to a darkened audience from a modern stage – a fluid entry prologue to the movie and entry into Elizabethan times, but one cribbed straight from the Chorus in the 1989 film Henry V, as played by Jacobi in Kenneth Branagh’s film directing debut. (For the record, Branagh is a Stratfordian; he still holds that Shakespeare was Shakespeare. Jacobi is an Oxfordian; he finds it more likely that Edward de Vere, the then Earl of Oxford, was Shakespeare.)
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