Thursday, August 7, 2014

Shakespeare’s the Tempest

adapted by Derek Jarman into a Film, 1979

The San Francisco Library has five dvd copies of this movie on order that should arrive any moment now.  It’s been a while since I’ve seen it, but it’s worth waiting for and seeing again.  Jarman had planned to make an adaptation with John Gielgud where the famous actor would read all the parts, which eventually became the concept behind Greenaway’s adaptation with him, called Prospero’s Books, a very much inferior film.  I’m happy that Jarman’s original plans didn’t work out (as they so often didn’t,) because the film he ended up making is richer for all the obstacles put in his way.  Rather than a Mediterranean island or the Azores, it is set in an old decaying English Manor House, a very different but appropriate kind of island.  As is usual with Jarman, anachronisms abound, but always purposefully.  Heathcoate Williams is no classically trained actor, but he does a good job of it just the same. Rather, he is Prospero, even as he plays at playing him.  Jarman’s own intense fascination with Magick carries them all through....


..... And it ends with Florence Welch singing Stormy Weather at the center of an elaborate dance number complete with frolicking sailors.

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