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Archive for June 16th, 2009

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by Sam Juliano

The dramatic fireworks that have always informed the tempestuous relationship between Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots has always fascinated biographers, historians and filmmakers, yet the proper venue for the high-stakes power games between the royal cousins is the stage.  After an absense of 40 years, Frederick Schiller’s Mary Stuart has been revived, in a dramatically exquisite production that showcases two of Britain’s finest actresses, Janet McTeer and Harriet Walter.  Mc Teer won a Tony Award in 1997 for her compelling performance as Nora in Ibsen’s A Doll House, while Ms. Walter is an acclaimed Shakespearean. 

      The new version of the play by Peter Oswald and directed by PyllindaLloyd is an examination of entrapment, which in literal terms informed Schiller’s interpretation of the imprisonment of the Tutor monarch Elizabeth, who for a period of four years was incarcerated in the Tower of London, before her triumphant return to cheering throngs to become Queen of England.  Once in power, Elizabeth was assailed as “illegitimate” by Mary, who her herself  is imprisoned.  Her nurse Hanna declares emphatically that she’s “bricked up alive.”  The question of course as to who will survive in this scintillating battle of the wills is easily answered by a cursory look back at history, where both woman are revealed as intelligent, savvy and politically adroit, but where one uses her new-found power and popularity to expectedly prevail.  Yet, even though the emotional and fiery Catholic Mary is far different in this sense than the icy Protestant Elizabeth, both are reliant on the support of the masses, who could change on a dime, and both were raised on a public stage, and know what it takes to remain in favor. 

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swedish 1

by Allan Fish

(Sweden 1970 120m) DVD2 (Sweden only)

Aka. En Kärlekshistoria

The world’s not meant for lonely people

p/d/w  Roy Andersson  ph  Jorgen Persson  ed  Kalle Boman  m  Björn Isfält

Ann-Sofie Kylin (Annika), Rolf Sohlman (Pär), Anita Lindblom (Eva), Bertil Norström (John, Annika’s father), Margreth Weivers (Elsa, Annika’s mother), Gunnar Ossiander (Pär’s grandfather), Lennart Tellfeldt (Lasse, Pär’s father), Maud Backéus (Gunhild, Pär’s mother), Björn Andresen, Arne Andersson,

Here’s a truly obscure one for many cineastes, a film barely heard of outside its native Sweden, but so cherished within its confines that it’s amazing that it’s so unknown to the English-speaking world.  Even after the success of Andersson’s Songs from the Second Floor in 2000, no-one seemed interested in going back to find what still remains his masterpiece, and one of the great Swedish films of the post-war period not directed by Ingmar Bergman.  At its heart is a simple love story.  Films about adolescents, teens rebelling against the world, are commonplace and rarely out of the ordinary.  Films detailing young adult lovers on the run from the law and/or authority are also rather plentiful, and rarely up to much either.  Rarer achievements than both of these, however, are films dealing with the onset of first love among young teens of the Romeo and Juliet generation.  Of course there is alienation and rebellion in the air, a rejection of the attitudes of their forefathers, a futile attempt to be cool.  What’s different is the lack of cynicism.  Its protagonists are simply meant to fall in love with each other, and coming from an anti-romantic, that’s saying a great deal. (more…)

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