Rome in the 4th century B.C. The citizens are in a mutinous mood. The rich are hoarding grain, the poor are starving and rebellion is in the air. One of the main targets of the general malcontent is Caius Martius, a haughty general who makes no secret of his disdain for plebeians. The Volscians begin to gather before the city, and the situation becomes critical. Their leader is Tullus Aufidius, a formidable military commander and arch-enemy of Caius Martius. A decisive battle takes place near the town of Corioles; thanks to the personal valour of General Caius Martius, the Roman army emerges victorious. His bravery earns him the epithet ‘Coriolanus’ – the one who liberated Corioles. Coriolanus is now popular enough to enter politics. He is urged to do so by his mother Volumnia, and his old mentor Menenius is also willing to help him rise to power. But first Coriolanus needs to be elected. This volatile soldier is anything but a good speaker and winning ways are anathema to his nature. Provoked by his political opponents Coriolanus insults the plebeians during a public appearance, and this puts an end to his political ambitions. The people rebel against him and are only placated by the lifelong banishment of their former war hero from the city. Coriolanus leaves Rome, bent on revenge. If he is to conquer Rome he needs the military support of his nemesis, Tullus Aufidius.
For his directorial debut, actor Ralph Fiennes chose to transpose Shakespeare’s play, originally written around 1607, to the present. The play’s dialogue has remained unchanged. –Berlinale
Fiennes trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. He began his career at the Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park and, also during the late 1980s, the National Theatre before becoming a star in the Royal Shakespeare Company. Fiennes first worked on screen in 1990 and then made his film debut in 1992 as Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights opposite Juliette Binoche, for which he received substantial acclaim and praise throughout Europe.
1993 was his “breakout year”. He had a major role in the controversial Peter Greenaway film The Baby of Mâcon with Julia Ormond. Though the film was poorly received, Fiennes’ career suffered no lasting consequences. Later that year he became known internationally for portraying the amoral Nazi concentration camp commandant Amon Göth in Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List. For this he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. He did not win the Oscar, but did win the Best Supporting Actor BAFTA Award for the role. His portrayal as… read more
An excellent debut & modernised adaptation of one of Shakespeare's often overlooked plays. Great performances and I LOVED that they kept the Shakespeare-speak...much more expressive than some kind of 'modernised translation' which would have sunk the film's quality in my opinion. Cinematography and editing was nice & directing was on point. Some flow problems near the end but a more or less faithful adaptation. Nice!
The Artist leads. Conspicuous in their total absence: Melancholia and The Tree of Life.
Also: Forthcoming films from Cristian Mungiu and Abdellatif Kechiche, Jürgen Fauth’s novel and more lists and awards.
Best Picture, Director and Cinematography. Nice showing, too, for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.
Besides reviews of the films by Roland Emmerich and Ralph Fiennes, this roundup gathers all things recently Shakespearean.
Ralph Fiennes's adaptation of Shakespeare's Coriolanus is among six world premieres in the first round of Competition titles in the Berlinale
I thoroughly enjoyed Ralph Fiennes directorial debut, this modernisation of Shakespeare’s great tragedy is so powerful I hardly have words to describe it without coming across half-hearted and feeble… read review
Fiennes’ premiere foray behind the camera sees the veteran entering the arena on familiar footing but with an audacious application in itself: opting to stage one of Shakespeare’s lesser-known plays… read review