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Cinematic Shakespeare (Genre and Beyond: A…

Cinematic Shakespeare (Genre and Beyond: A Film Studies Series)

by Michael A. Anderegg

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To Adapt or not to Adapt Shakespeare, That is the Question: "Cinematic Shakespeare" by Michael A Anderegg Published 2003.
“For nearly half a century, students have been told that Shakespeare is theatre and his plays essentially performance texts. The way to teach Shakespeare is to perform him. The method is reading aloud, acting out scenes, learning Elizabethan stage practice, and, not incidentally, looking at the movies. Shakespeare is easy, not hard; he is a working playwright, not a precious ‘poet’; he is a craftsman, not an artist; and, most significantly, he is a capitalist, a shareholder in a business venture who retired at an early age on a comfortable pension, not some poor schlemiel living in a garret and practicing his ‘art’ for its own sake. Shakespeare, it turns out, is really one of us.”
“No matter how deeply the text is cut, no matter how updates the setting, no matter how avant-garde the production, Shakespeare films […] exhibit an almost mystical devotion to Shakespeare’s words – the language and diction of Elizabethan English, a language and diction at once poetic and theatrical. […] no other writer has had his or her words treated with a similar fidelity. The temptation to simply paraphrase Shakespeare’s language is almost always resisted.”
Anderegg’s take on Shakespeare film is a weird one. I don’t agree with much that was written, but it made me re-evaluate (by watching once again the movies) some of the things I thought I knew about some Shakespeare movies of my personal acquaintance: Branagh’s, Luhrman’s, Zeffireli’s, Whedon’s, etc. Rather than regurgitate Anderegg’s arguments (some of them seemed very convoluted, particularly when it came to analyzing Branagh’s work: “Much Ado About Nothing”, “In the Bleak Midwinter”, and “Hamlet”), I’ll give you instead my take on the movies I’ve seen recently. It goes without saying, I’ve re-watched some of them just to make sure my vision was still true…
Read on, if you feel so inclined. ( )
  antao | Dec 10, 2016 |
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