Hamlet: the Movie ~ theatre notes

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Hamlet: the Movie

Film adaptations of theatre are mostly tragically disappointing. Recently I slipped into the DVD player a disc that purported to record Ariane Mnouchkine's luminous Le Dernier Caravansérail, only to turn it off after 20 minutes in case it erased my memories of the show. The "adaptation" was a travesty: the heavily literal hand of film had turned it all into soap opera. Only bare hints remained of the lyricism of the stage. Like they say in Mafia movies, faggeddit.

So it was with mixed feelings that I heard that one of my peak theatre experiences - The Poor Theatre's production of Hamlet, directed by Oscar Redding and starring Richard Pyros as Hamlet - had been filmed. (Review of that production here). As my review indicates, that production brought out the fangirl that lurks breathlessly beneath this stern, forbidding critical exterior: afterwards I had to be sedated with several glasses of wine.

This week producer Aleks Radovic sent me a preview of the film, which is now in post-production. It removed my doubts, and now I can't wait to see the whole thing. Redding has preserved the roughness of the "poor theatre" aesthetic by using Dogme film techniques - hand-held cameras, for example, that invite the viewer into the action - and filming at night in public locations around Melbourne.

The effect is to highlight the performances and the text. The quality of Mr Shakespeare's writing is beyond question, and I have to say that the performances look electric. The cast is a little different from the play, and they've got rid of the doubling. The film features some of my fave Melbourne actors, like Adrian Mulraney and Brian Lipson and, of course, Pyros doing his Hamlet schtick. On the strength of the 20 minutes I've seen, it looks fair to be as exciting a Hamlet as has been committed to film. No news yet on where it can be seen, but my recommendation is to keep an eye out - it could be one of those movies that appear in cinemas for a two-day season, and you don't want to miss it. A suitably sable website with a trailer is here.


Anonymous said...

Hello Alison, Hamlet seems like an interesting movie and i would like to watch it when it comes out. Thank you for posting it and leaving descriptions and the trailer!

Anonymous said...

Hi All,
Just to let you know that the new Hamlet movie is currently being considered for the Melbourne International Film Festival. The Official Selection will be publicly announced in late June.

So keep your fingers crossed and an eye on the official website www.DrinkHotBlood.com.

Warm regards,

Aleks Radovic
The Tragedy of Hamlet Prince of Denmark