King Lear of England (Jüri Järvet) retires from his throne of power. His decision to divide his kingdom among his elder daughters, over the warnings of his youngest Cordelia (Valentina Shendrikova), sparks off a chain of events that engulfs the entire countryside. Lear’s final days are marked by dissension, internecine conflict and terrible violence. Humiliated and banished by his daughters, the King wanders the countryside like a beggar, accompanied by his Fool and a few faithful servants. Driven mad by despair, Lear’s megalomania consumes him to the point of blindness.
One of William Shakespeare’s darkest works, King Lear receives vivid expression in this esteemed Russian rendition. The film’s use of widescreen and its stark black-and-white cinematography provide an expansive cinematic dimension to the tragedy. Working with a translation from Nobel Laureate Boris Pasternak, Grigori Kozintsev in the final film of his career, fashions a fitting twilight work; achieving in this harsh tale of mortality and power, a tranquility in form and assurance of vision. —Mr Bongo
Grigori Kozintsev belonged to an astonishing generation of Russian artists. Born in Kiev in 1905, Kozintsev studied at St. Petersberg’s famed Imperial Academy of Art where he began his lifelong engagement with theatre. The Russian Revolution and the avant-garde movements that followed in its wake would bear a great impact on his imagination. To this period belongs the futurist poetry of Vladimir Mayakovsky, Aleksandr Blok, the Formalist criticism of Viktor Shklovsky and Roman Jakobson and the dramaturgical innovations of Vsevolod Meyerhold on the Russian stage.
Along with Leonid Trauberg, Grigori Kozintsev formed the Factory of the Eccentric Actor (FEKS) at St. Petersburg in 1921. FEKS had a pivotal influence on Soviet cinema, especially when Trauberg and Kozintsev put their artistic theories into practice through the films made with the dramaturgical collective. At the age of 19, Kozintsev (co-directing with Trauberg) made his directorial debut with The Adventures of Oktyabrina… read more
Extraordinaria versión de la tragedia de Shakespeare, con la que Kozintsev consigue la que, quizas, sea la mejor adaptación cinematografica de esta obra del bardo inglés. Tecnicamente impecable, esta espectacular cinta hace gala de una puesta en escena de gran dinamismo, potenciada, ademas, por el estupendo nivel de las actuaciones y por la notable musica de Dmitri Shostakovich, expresamente compuesta para el film.
Time and again people have asked me which movie is my all time favorite. I have often said without much hesitation: the Russian film Grigory Kozintsev’s King Lear. Even close friends wonder if I have… read review