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.
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"the tongue, that wild meat, that grows in the wound,
in the open wound of the mouth, that feeds on deceitful truth,
the tongue, that externally beating, bared heart, that naked blade,
a defenseless weapon, that gag, stifling
defeated uprisings of words, that animal tamed daily
by human teeth, that inhuman thing which grows in us and
outgrows us, that animal fed with the poisoned flesh of the body,
that red flag we
Kozintsev sets Shakespeare's play against the background of social disorder and shows the deterioration of personal relations as a consequence of this situation. Sequences like the beginning of the second part are unforgetable, and Dmitri Shostakovich provides the film with rare used but very powerful music. One of the most noteworthy pieces is the choir underlininig the fighting sequence after Gloucester's dead.
Wisdom and goodness to the vile seem vile:/ Filths savour but themselves... Saw this years ago, remember liking it, but aside from rocky widescreen landscapes, the trouble of reading Shakespearean subtitles, and Jüri Järvet's white mane, little else. What years can do! How could I have failed to be roused by old Kozintsev's dynamic direction, by Shakespeare and Shostakovich! Younger me at times just missed the boat.
Oh sweet mother of God! I'm sorry for this heresy, well I actually ain't sorry, but this felt so stale, lifeless and uninspired , and I usually love the good old Soviet cinema. It's like Shakespeare is a burden too heavy to bare for most directors, sucking them of all the life and skill they might possess resulting into something average or below average,and most of the cinematic adaptations are so. Akira Kurosawa
Overwhelming is a good word to describe how Kozintsev's 'King Lear' affects you. Shakespeare was brilliant, Kozintsev was as well. I loved it way more than 'Hamlet' even though it tired me way more too.