Tuesday, March 04, 2008
(1:35 PM) | Brad:
Beckett on FilmIt has taken a couple of months, but I've finally finished the four-discs of Beckett on Film. The task of filming all of Samuel Beckett's plays did not please everybody. For purists, it was abominable to take them off the stage, because on film the camera controls the gaze. Others objected for more aesthetic reasons. For some critics, Beckett's language use was devalued. For others, the interpretive liberties taken were excessive and/or distracting. For the most part, though, I was pleased. Many of the plays are rarely performed these days, so it is nice at least to have a record of their performance.
I was especially impressed by Jeremy Irons in Ohio Impromptu. I had neither seen nor read this play before, but have since become rather taken by it.
Anthony Minghella's version of Play is interesting. He replaces the original spotlights with a whizzing camera, and moves beyond the script in setting the three urns amongst a hellish field of similiar jabbering urns. I can see where some might have a problem with this. The panning shot that reveals this toward the end of the act is, I admit, a bit much, as is the impish emphasis on the camera itself. But I'm willing to forgive this because of the performances. The overal effect is pretty mesmerizing.