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’
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-off point for personal reflection rather than any precise correlative to Shakespeare’s character, with the images ultimately defying textual interpretation 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.