Friday, March 06, 2009

Branagh's Shakespeare

Kenneth Branagh is probably this generation’s most prolific and exciting interpreter of Shakespeare. Season 3 of Paul Loosely's Shakespeare on Film - The Branagh Variations collects together, in chronological order, all of his cinema films (so far) in which he both starred and directed.

February 8
Henry VHenry V (1989)

Branagh brought a youthful, down to earth ‘laddish’ feel to the hero of Agincourt. As they ride into the breach, and as he sets his small army on the somewhat fey French, he’s really just ‘one of the boys’. Also starring Paul Scofield and Derek Jacobi

February 15
Much Ado About Nothing (1993)

Branagh and friends romping and flirting and laughing and cavorting through Shakespeare’s lusty comedy and through the beautiful Tuscan countryside. It’s quite a treat, watching a bunch of actors obviously having the time of their lives. Also staring Emma Thompson, Keanu Reeves and Denzil Washington

March 1
HamletHamlet Pt 1 (1996)

Branagh channels David Lean this time, having clearly decided that the story was an epic, he decided to film Shakespeare’s longest single work, the entire play with no cuts, combining all existing versions and variations – all 4 hours of it... in super wide 65mm! Also starring Kate Winslet, Julie Christie, Judy Dench and Derek Jacobi.

March 8
Hamlet Pt 2 (1996)

Part 2 of Branagh's re-interpretation of Shakespeare’s greatest tragic hero.

March 15
Love’s Labour’s Lost (2000)

The epitome of revisionism as Branagh turns a Shakespeare romantic comedy of courtly manners and simple love into a colourful Hollywood musical. Also starring Nathan Lane and Alicia Silverstone.



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