Friday, October 1, 2010

Julie Taymor's "The Tempest" trailer

I'm both a movie buff and a Shakespeare fanboy, so this one hits me with both arrows in its quiver.

Taymor's Titus remains one of the boldest and, to me, most exciting and faithful (in a "purity of essence" way) adaptations of a Shakespeare play for the screen. Titus Andronicus was one of William's earliest productions for the London stage, first performed well before the Globe Theatre was even a twinkle in Richard Burbage's eye. Now Taymor applies her uniquely stylized vision to the playwright's final work as a solo author. It's also one of his very best, endlessly fantastical and rubbery and tunable to our, or any, times. (Curiously, Taymor's Across the Universe left me cold and grumpy, although it too seemed made just for me, a hardcore Beatles aficionado. Then again, its failure for me was at the story level, a problem not likely repeated here.)

Much is being made about the gender-swap of Helen Mirren playing "Prospera" rather than the original, traditionally male Prospero. Pointing out that casting choice as a significant issue just sets my eyes, to borrow a phrase, "in a fine frenzy rolling." It's much ado about bugger all. It's Shakespeare ... with Helen freakin' Mirren! Oh brave new film that has such people in't!

A few years ago a college literature textbook reprinted a novelette of mine set in Shakespeare's time. The story opened with Prospero's "We are such stuff / As dreams are made on" speech. As public final bows (well, nearly) go, Shakespeare began his career's exit with a doozy.

There's a bit more about it at the fine Bardfilm blog.

Official movie site