Two Gentlemen of Verona

Date:
Posted by: newzealand010
Cast: not given
Credits: not given
Duration: 2.59

Every picture tells a story – every picture has a story. And so one would love to know what the story is behind this particular jape. Four young people in someone’s back garden (in New Zealand?) enact a pared-down version of The Two Gentlemen of Verona. There is no speech (bar three words); instead the bare bones of plot and character are given through subtitles, making this a silent film of sorts. It’s all done in a mocking manner to the tune of assorted pop and dance tracks. As with so many such YouTube videos, the joke is one to be shared between the participants and their friends. What makes it unusual is that they took one of Shakespeare’s less familiar plays as their theme, and that they went about their task with such gusto. It all means something: perhaps an expression of democratic Shakespeare, that he can played anywhere, in any form, by anyone. All you need is a video camera – and a back garden.

Links:
YouTube page

Lear

Date: 2009
Posted by: lavamatic
Cast: not visible
Credits: Made by Jeffrey Weeter
Duration: 5.14

I’m not entirely sure what to make of this, but it’s different and quite hypnotic. The filmmaker (Chicago-based intermedia artist and audio engineer Jeffrey Weeter) has taken sequences from the 1910 Italian silent film Re Lear (King Lear), and then zoomed in on action from the edges of the frame only, so that all you see are feet and the hems of cloaks. The mysterious action is interspersed with titles that read ‘something selfish’, ‘something similar’, ‘something scandalous’ etc., while fitful pieces of music play over the top. It is something rich and strange. Weeter tells us:

“Lear” is a different look. It focuses the information analyzed in the periphery. A narrative unfolds as threads of content are connected and pattern is established. Where there is compression there is also expansion. It is looking at you, vast-expanse-of-art-and-technology-across-history.

Well, I’m not sure that any narrative unfolds at all, still less that compression means expansion. But the sheer elusive of the exercise exerts a real fascination, and it shows how interesting Shakespeare can become in a filmmaker’s hands when they do not feel compelled to tell a story.

Links:
Vimeo page
Lavamatic.com
Jeffrey Weeter

Romeo & Juliet

Date: 2008
Posted by: ylpiaocai
Cast: Ben Cunis (Romeo), Courtney Pauroso (Juliet)
Credits: Produced by SilhouetteFilm. Stage production directed by Paata Tsikurishvili, choreography by Irina Tsikurishvili
Duration: 2.26

A trailer for a production of Romeo and Juliet by Synetic Theater, the company founded by Paata and Irina Tsikurishvili which specialises in silent interpretations of the classics. Its theatre production have included Hamlet, Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Romeo and Juliet, as well as several non-Shakespearean works. They describe their work thus:

Synetic Theater seeks to advance and enrich the theater arts through presentation and education in its unique performance style of a synthesis of the arts, fusing the classical elements of drama, movement, dance, mime, and music into a distinct form of non-realistic theater.

In truth the result seems to be ballet as much as anything, but it is vivid theatre nonetheless, with its heart lying in silent cinema quite as much as in dance. Unlike many theatre trailers, the video reflects the essence of the theatrical experience.

Links:
SilhouetteFilm
Synetic Theater
YouTube page

Caesar and the Payatas Boys

Date: 2007
Posted by: pepblue12
Credits: Filmed (presumably) by Denice Planas
Cast: Kristiann Bonus, Pauline Bueno, Jenny Gagucan, Finzy Gonzales, Athena Parro, Abby Peralta, Denice Planas, Ceej Tantengco, Janina Yap
Duration: 6.13

Well, to be completely honest, I’m not entirely sure what’s going on here. I know Act 1 of Julius Caesar, of which this is an interpretation, and I recognise the characters and sort of where the action is going on, but I am too old to know what on earth is being said.

But so what? This is a lively English school project by a bunch of Philippine schoolgirls (Payatas is a slum site outside Manila), who have taken the play and presented it as a silent film with faux scratches, intertitles (Brutus: “I just feel emotional today. I have so many problems”) and cheap organ music. The action in between is just goofing around – what counts is the teenspeak dialogue with assorted in-jokes and in-slang. We’re promised anti-Caesar spraypainting tags, but then the video ends with a ‘to be continued…’ Shame. Now they’ve moved on to higher classes, and we’ll probably never know what might have happened.

Links:
YouTube page

7 Ages

Act I – Intro/The Infant

Date: 2008
Posted by: SuperMegaActionPlus
Credits: Produced by Andrew Smaje, handmade by SuperMegaActionPlus
Cast: none
Duration: 2.25

This is the first of a series of seven trailers produced for the 2008 Unplugged Shakespeare festival at the Theatre Royal Bath, each dedicated to one of the ‘seven ages’ from Jacques’ speech in As You Like It. The video production company behind the series describes its work thus:

Our brief was to create a silent short film for each of the seven ages of man from the ‘All the world’s a stage…’ speech in ‘As You Like It’. Each film had to appeal to its featured age group, and work as both a silent film (to be shown in shop windows around Bath during the festival) and with audio for a showing at our local independent cinema, the Little Theatre Cinema, Bath.

The videos are dynamic amalgams of animation, cut-out images, archive film, performance, sounds and wry references to Shakespeare’s words, giving them a stylish contemporary twist. They are well worth checking in their widescreen through the direct YouTube links below (or see the higher resolution copies, hosted by Vimeo, available on the SuperMegaActionPlus site – they look terrific full screen). The opening video (above) introduces the ‘seven ages’ theme before a brief but imaginative take on infancy as the first age. Each ‘age’ in the series is then expressed in a different visual style, from computer games (The Schoolboy) to rap (The Soldier) to total silence (The Pantaloon). Marvellous stuff, which just goes to show how much of an inspiration Shakespeare is to the creative filmmaker. Be sure to catch them all.

Links:
Act I: Intro/The Infant (2.25 mins)
Act II: The Schoolboy (2.48 mins)
Act III: The Lover (6.38 mins)
Act IV: A Soldier (3.35 mins)
Act V: The Justice (2.57 mins)
Act VI: The Pantaloon (6.02 mins)
Act VII: Sans (4.37 mins)
SuperMegaActionPlus site
SuperMegaActionPlus’s Vimeo pages

Richard III … with Gnarls Barkley

Date: 2008
Posted by: kjnwcedu
Credits: Created by Keith Jones
Cast: Frederick Warde (Richard III)
Duration: 1.22

Another mashing up of silent Shakespeare with unlikely music by Professor Keith Jones, the man who gave us Julius Caesar with a wassailing song. Here extracts from the 1912 feature film Richard III, starring Frederick Warde, is introduced to Gnarls Barkley’s ‘Feng Shui’. Anything to save it from being done straight with Ennio Morricone…

Links
YouTube page
Keith Jones’ Shakespeare on Film: A Microblog
Richard III on DVD from Kino

Silent Julius Caesar and old fashioned English wassail

Date: 2008
Posted by: kjnwcedu
Credits: Created by Keith Jones
Cast: Amleto Novelli, Giovanna Terribili Gonzalès, Pina Menichelli, Ruffo Geri, Ignazio Lupi, Irene Mattadra, Bruto Castellani, Augusto Mastripietri, Sigira Geri, Orlando Ricci, Carlo Duse, Lea Orlandi
Duration: 0.58

Keith Jones is an American professor of English and Literature who maintains the Shakespeare and Film Microblog. As well as gathering together information and thoughts on Shakespeare and film, Jones adds his own mashups, of which this is an uplifting example. Strictly speaking the Italian 1914 epic Cajus Julius Caesar has nothing to do with Shakespeare play, but the joyous coming together of ancient Romans milling about with an (unnamed) group singing the Gower Wassail demands its inclusion here.

Links
YouTube page
Keith Jones’ Shakespeare on Film: A Microblog

Timon’s Friendship Adventure

Date: 2007
Posted by: MosesHouse
Credits: Directed by Max Littman, writer/executive producer Michael Weinreich, produced by Lisa Shapiro, director of photography Maximilian Schmige, production manager Annie Wilkes, art director Janet Franco, editor Adriana Blancarte, gaffer/grip/camera operator Matthew Ace Palanca, music Edvard Grieg (Gavin Gamboa-piano, Timothy Beutler – drums, Luke Webb – guitar)
Cast: Jason Davids Scott (Timon), Lauren Bruniges (Sherry), Maximilian Schwarzenbach (Samuel), Martha Mintz (Beatrice), Eric Hedlund (Raphael), Merlin Huff (Edgar (Servant no. 1), Nicholas Owen Tapis (Servant no. 2), Miguel Juanreichez (The Gardener)
Duration: 7.12

Bloody modern dress, modern silent film (including intertitles, piano music and black-and-white cinematography), based on Timon of Athens (though in practice it seems to owe rather more to Titus Andronicus). As the film’s website puts it:

Timon’s Friendship Adventure is the story of a jovial, plump, rich man. His main concern is the happiness of those around him – so much so that his generosity soon results in his own bankruptcy. When he asks his friends for loans he discovers that friendship can sometimes be a one-way street.

Made in 2007 and featured at various film festivals. Just a shame about the electric guitar.

Links
YouTube page
Film’s website