Montag, 21. Juli 2014

Gamlet / Hamlet (Grigori Kozintsev, 1964)

The Danish prince strikes again - this time residing in Russia.
Apart from having some desperately needed cuts to the Lawrence Olivier's version, this film has an outstanding cinematography. Compared to this version, Olivier's rendering seems a bit stiff and stuffy - despite it's own qualities. Just as with Olivier, also this Hamlet seems quite a bit too old for the part. But he works with that beautifully. I guess that as a result, some of the love scenes were shortened - as far as I can remember. Despite the amazing work and the unchained camera in many scenes, the final sword fight cannot shake its stagy-ness.
 But the memorable aspects of this movie for me were mostly the images of looming doom and despair. Black and white seems the perfect medium to tell this. Many images are shot out of dark hallways, into punctually lit courtyards. Fog is abundant and the camera seems to tiptop behind the actors as they stumble through this medieval labyrinth.
Another spectacular pair of shots is the contrast of the dancing scene. The one - well-measured and timid - has the stiffness and rigidity of the moral compass of the times: Ophelia carefully and tempered practicing her moves in her bedroom, observed and watched.

On the other hand, there is an animalistic (and probably deadly) energy in the masked dancers that move with torches in front of the camera. It is clear that their appearance foreshadows evil. There are a ton of other details that I should try to figure out in another viewing that I completely missed in this run.

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