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Archive for March 16th, 2009

 othellotfana460c

by Sam Juliano

After a month-long sojourn at the Duke, Arin Arbus’s critically-praised staging of Shakespeare’s Othello has been given another week of performances scheduled to commence after the company’s soon-to-begin Hamlet run at the intimate second-floor auditorium on a bustling 42nd Street in Manhattan.     

Regularly one of the most produced Shakespeare productions annually in the US, Othello is arguably (as the great scholar A.C. Bradley contends) “the most painfully exciting and most terrible of the Bard’s work”, even eclipsing Lear in that department.  Surely as one of Shakespeare’s four great tragedies (Hamlet, King Lear and Macbeth are the other three of course) there is always a reference point envisioned by  theatre goers of past productions, and invariably of what expects from its illustrious characters and staging decisions.  From the latter, Arbus wisely plays the “less is more” game, allowing minimalist props and lighting to be overshadowed by those immortal words and passages that bring this defining study of sexual jealousy to unobstructed to lilting grandeur.     (more…)

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 tokyo-twil-1-copy

by Allan Fish

(Japan 1957 140m) DVD1/2

Aka. Tokyo Boshaku

A child needs the love of both parents

Takeshi Yamamoto  d  Yasujiro Ozu  w  Yasujiro Ozu, Kogo Nada  ph  Yuuharu Atsuta  ed  Yoshiyasu Hamamura  m  Kojin Saito 

Setsuko Hara (Takako Numata), Isuzu Yamada (Kisako Soma), Ineko Arima (Akiko Sugiyama), Chishu Ryu (Shukichi Sugiyama), Masami Taura (Kenji Kimura), So Yamamura, Kamatari Fujiwara, Nobuo Kamakura, Haruko Sugimura,

There is little doubt that Japan’s capital meant a lot to director Yasujiro Ozu.  I can think of four major films he made with the city in the title, two in the thirties and two in the fifties, and that’s only amongst the films I’ve seen.  Each one in its way is a poem, but although the list contains his all-time magnum opus, Tokyo Story, I think this one isn’t too far behind.  It wasn’t always appreciated as an Ozu masterwork, and indeed was never shown in the west on its original release except to eclectic art houses.  Even now, it took till 2005 for the DVD releases, first in Hong Kong in the superb Anniversary Collection, and then later in the UK as part of a three film set.  It’s undoubtedly the work of an older director than the man who first came to prominence, and an even more melancholy one than the director of Tokyo Story but four years earlier.  Both are quite a bit over two hours, but though there are constants in the cast, as always with Ozu, they are very different in tone. (more…)

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