Looking for Richard – A Film Review

Looking for Richard and Looking for Relevance

by Vago Damitio

It would seem that one of the major tasks facing filmmakers and story tellers of all stripes today is to find relevance between the story being told and the lives we lead. This search for relevance is not simply a way to achieve funding and production for a story, it is, more importantly, a way to connect the audience to the tale being told.

The all important connection can be through such obvious means as utilizing current events that the audience is familiar with. This was done to great effect in The Queen, where director Steven Frears reveals the very foreign and bizarre lives of the British royal family during the events which unfolded after the death of Lady Diana Spencer.

Another method might be to set a movie in a well known location. This worked wonderfully in Robert Altman’s classic expose of Hollywood, The Player. There are countless ways to create relevance.

In Looking for Richard, director Al Pacino seeks to show the contemporary world that one of the most important ways to create relevance is through raw human emotions such as greed, envy, jealousy, pride, fear, and the lust for power. Pacino takes his love of Shakespeare to the masses and finds that many of them don’t recognize the relevance of the Bard Poet in the modern world. Rather than simply explaining why the works of William Shakespeare have survived the test of time, Pacino takes Richard III, Shakespeare’s most performed play and breaks it into meaningful bits that clearly demonstrate the relevance to how we feel and think today.

  Continue reading “Looking for Richard – A Film Review”

Et tu Brutus?

This is one of my favorite Shakespeare stories…worth sharing again and again.

shakespeare, julius ceasar, brutus

ASPEN, Colo. – Julius Caesar lay dead and Brutus was talking to his co-conspirators about swords and blood when he paused and excused himself, saying “I seem to have stabbed myself.”

Aspen actor/director Kent Hudson Reed accidently cut his leg open with the knife he was using in an outdoor performance of “Scenes from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar” on Wednesday.

He tried to carry on, “but my boot was filling up with blood and I was flubbing my lines, wondering if I was going to pass out, wondering if the audience could see the blood.”

Portia (Susan Mauntel) took Brutus to a hospital for stitches and play narrator Tyson Young announced the performance was canceled.

“That’s what you get for trying to kill Caesar,” he said.

Reed said actors normally don’t use real knives, but the scene was set up so none of the performers were close enough to hurt each other.

“But I hadn’t thought an actor might stab himself,” he said.

Reed said the show would go on, although Brutus might be limping for a while.

Richard III – Evil Evil England

Richard III: Evil Evil England by Vago Damitio

Richard III PosterA Review of Richard III (1998) starring Ian Mckellen and Annette Bening

When one looks at the United Kingdom, one naturally expects to find certain things. Among these are crumpets, tea, drivers sitting on the right hand side of automobiles, double-deck buses, and a deep and abiding love for the largely symbolic hereditary monarchy. These, we have been led to believe by popular fiction, television, and current events to believe are some of the cornerstones of that elusive quality that one might describe as ‘Englishness’. In our modern world, we have a somewhat quaint view of what it means to be English that doesn’t always match up with the historical realities of the past. Far from being home to a people with centuries of hobbit like habits, England has witnessed a multitude of atrocities and wars and has been instrumental in shaping many of the policies that have directly led to mass genocide, civil wars, totalitarian regimes, and many of the other evils that have plagued humanity through the ages of recorded history.

Some of the bloodiest episodes in English history are known as the ‘Wars of the Roses’. These wars were fought between two houses of nobility that still have a huge rivalry in the modern world. Lucky for England, this antagonism usually finds its place on the sporting field today. Not so in the 1400’s when the Houses of Lancaster and York fought horrible bloody battles to take control of the English throne. One of the worlds most beloved writers, William Shakespeare, wrote of these events in a number of his plays. Among them was Richard III. Continue reading “Richard III – Evil Evil England”

Richard III – Evil Evil England

Richard III: Evil Evil England by Vago Damitio

Richard III PosterA Review of Richard III (1998) starring Ian Mckellen and Annette Bening

When one looks at the United Kingdom, one naturally expects to find certain things. Among these are crumpets, tea, drivers sitting on the right hand side of automobiles, double-deck buses, and a deep and abiding love for the largely symbolic hereditary monarchy. These, we have been led to believe by popular fiction, television, and current events to believe are some of the cornerstones of that elusive quality that one might describe as ‘Englishness’. In our modern world, we have a somewhat quaint view of what it means to be English that doesn’t always match up with the historical realities of the past. Far from being home to a people with centuries of hobbit like habits, England has witnessed a multitude of atrocities and wars and has been instrumental in shaping many of the policies that have directly led to mass genocide, civil wars, totalitarian regimes, and many of the other evils that have plagued humanity through the ages of recorded history.

Some of the bloodiest episodes in English history are known as the ‘Wars of the Roses’. These wars were fought between two houses of nobility that still have a huge rivalry in the modern world. Lucky for England, this antagonism usually finds its place on the sporting field today. Not so in the 1400’s when the Houses of Lancaster and York fought horrible bloody battles to take control of the English throne. One of the worlds most beloved writers, William Shakespeare, wrote of these events in a number of his plays. Among them was Richard III. Continue reading “Richard III – Evil Evil England”