Caliban

Date: 2011
Posted by: Prospero
Cast: Prospero (himself), Roxana (Ariel)
Credits: Prospero, camera, editing, piano; music – Penderecki, String Quartet no. 2; Arvo Pärt , Magnificat
Duration: 4.08

A strange experimental work by a photographer (it appears) hiding under the name Prospero. None of his other video work indicates any Shakespearean interest, but presumably the choice of name led to some compulsion or other and to this work, named Caliban. It consists of a collection of varied, seemingly unconnected shots (though some refer to The Tempest, including sea, footprints on a beach, and maybe one of Prospero’s books) overlaid by a modern language dialogue between Prospero and Ariel, in which the fear is not of Caliban learning the language of words but rather that of images (he has been taking pictures on his cellphone, we learn). The weakness of the video is that it doesn’t take this concept much further than that, so that it serves as something for personal introspection rather than something to be shared with anyone else. But, as is the way with online video, we share these things anyay. Make of it what you will.

Links:
Vimeo page
Serendipitious Garden (Prospero’s blog)

Juliet must die

Date: 2009
Posted by: P.M.
Cast: P.M. (presumably)
Credits: Produced in association with the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava. Adaption by P.M. Voice by András Cséfalvay. Photography by Matúš Bence, Martina Slováková. Editing by Peter Kotrha. Grip, Vladimir Biskupský. Music, Samuel Barber ‘Adagio for Strings’, Richard Wagner ‘Liebestod’
Duration: 4.52

After a period of unenforced silence, BardBox returns with a new look but the same purpose: to locate, document and present new forms of Shakspearean production that are being produced as online videos. This distinctive reverie inspired by Romeo and Juliet is a fine example of the genre, helped by having a great title (echoing the feature film Romeo Must Die). This is a highly personalised take on Shakespeare’s heroine, with whom the filmmaker clearly feels a strong affinity. She calls the film “a short self- portrait based on the last lines of Romeo’s character” (actually a mixture of lines spoken by Romeo in Act 1, “O brawling love! O loving hate!”, and his last words, ending “I still will stay with thee/ And never from this palace of dim night / Depart again: here, here will I remain”). It is Romeo’s word we hear, quietly spoken, while we see a woman lost in thought in some woods, caught between memories and intimations of death. The filmmaker describes her interpretation as

… a melancholic story of struggle set in the dully dreamscape that witnesses unabled emotional states of longing and despair. At given time a rush towards reconciliation to death reveals a brief, fleeting moment of connection between ‘star-crossed’ lovers until the dream to dwell is shattered.

Starting point of self-stageing [sic] fiction is using the concept of the cinematic fundamental apparatus based on intensive, emotional and cognitive relationship of the spectator with the spectacular female body coded as “to- be- look- at- ness”.

Interpret that how you will, but what we seem to get is Juliet’s predicament as a jumping of point for personal reflection rather than any precise correlative to Shakespeare’s character, with the images ultimately defying textual intepretation because they are intended to linger in the mind as images. The video is beautifully shot, and the production Slovakian in original, with Romeo’s words appearing as Slovak subtitles, as well as being spoken in English (“O brawling love! O loving hate!). As with the many Ophelia videos and photo-montages to be found, this is evidence of the deep identification with Shakespeare’s doomed heroines that is finding heartfelt expression in the online world.

Links:
Vimeo page