Shakespeare on Screen

9/3/10 to 10/29/10

California Shakespeare Theater and BAM/PFA join together to showcase some of the best-and most radical-approaches to the Bard, with films spanning the globe from Denmark to the United States, Japan to Russia, and featuring the likes of Toshiro Mifune, silent film star Asta Nielsen, and Leonardo DiCaprio.

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Past Films

  • Macbeth

    • Friday, October 29 9:05 PM

    Orson Welles (U.S., 1948). Welles restores Shakespeare's tragedy to its roots in Scots legend with an experimental fusion of the Bard and the B picture. (119 mins)

  • Antony and Cleopatra

    • Sunday, October 24 4:00 PM

    Charlton Heston (U.K./Spain/Switzerland, 1972). Heston stars in and directs this sweeping adaptation, filmed in Spain and recalling some of the epic scope of Ben Hur. “Impressively mounted and well played . . . a neat balance of closeup portraiture and panoramic action.”-Variety (160 mins)

  • King Lear

    • Saturday, October 23 8:30 PM

    Grigori Kozintsev (U.S.S.R., 1970). Pioneering Russian director Kozintsev (New Babylon; Devil's Wheel) returns Shakespeare to the harsh, barren natural world in this windswept, stark CinemaScope epic. Adapted by Boris Pasternak; music by Shostakovich. (140 mins)

  • Romeo + Juliet

    • Sunday, October 17 4:00 PM

    Baz Luhrmann (U.S., 1996). Leonardo diCaprio and Claire Danes are the two star-crossed lovers in this delightfully over-the-top, mid-‘90s beach-culture vision of Shakespeare, complete with souped-up roadsters, tattoos, Radiohead, and drag queens. From the director of Strictly Ballroom and Moulin Rouge. “Shakespeare has never been this sexy on-screen.”-Rolling Stone (120 mins)

  • Chimes at Midnight

    • Thursday, October 14 7:00 PM

    Orson Welles (France/Spain/Switzerland, 1966). Plus rare footage from the PFA Collection. Welles embodies Shakespeare's Falstaff in “a dark masterpiece, shot through with slapstick and sorrow.”-Time Out (113 mins)

  • Throne of Blood

    • Saturday, October 9 6:00 PM

    Akira Kurosawa (Japan, 1957). Kurosawa's Noh-influenced version of Macbeth is “the most brilliant and original attempt ever made to put Shakespeare on screen.”-Time (107 mins)

  • Angelic Conversations

    • Thursday, September 30 7:00 PM

    Derek Jarman (U.K., 1985). Jarman's home-movie-like, poetic Super-8 images are juxtaposed with a soundtrack by Coil and Judi Dench reading fourteen of Shakespeare's sonnets in this “meditation on the pleasures of looking….(It) feels like the missing link…between the Eisenstein of Que Viva Mexico and Kenneth Anger.”-Walker Art Center (78 mins)

  • King Lear

    • Friday, September 17 9:00 PM

    Jean-Luc Godard (France, 1987). “More Cocteau and Beckett than Shakespeare” (TIFF Cinematheque), Godard's take on King Lear features one of the most eclectic casts ever assembled: Woody Allen, Peter Sellars, Norman Mailer, Burgess Meredith, Molly Ringwald, and Godard himself. “A grand statement about the power of moviemaking.”-The New Yorker (90 mins)

  • A Midsummer Night's Dream

    • Sunday, September 12 4:00 PM

    William Dieterle and Max Reinhardt (U.S., 1935). Hollywood studio power meets theatrical German Expressionism in this ornate post-Code collaboration between Warner Bros. and Max Reinhardt, starring James Cagney, Mickey Rooney, Olivia de Havilland, and Dick Powell. “A triumph of vulgarity.”-Village Voice (132 mins)

  • Henry V

    • Thursday, September 9 7:00 PM

    Laurence Olivier (U.K., 1945). Lush Technicolor version of the Shakespeare play, made during World War II to boost British hope and courage. Olivier's directorial debut. (137 mins)

  • Romeo and Juliet

    • Sunday, September 5 4:00 PM

    Franco Zeffirelli (UK/Italy, 1968). Producer Zeffirelli gave a sixties youth-in-revolt sheen to his successful adaptation of the Shakespeare classic, and caused controversy by casting a 15-year-old and a 16-year-old as the star-crossed lovers. With music by Nino Rota. With puppet-animation short, Next. (143 mins)

  • Hamlet

    • Friday, September 3 6:30 PM

    Sven Gade, Heinz Schall (Germany, 1920). Bruce Loeb on Piano. Asta Nielsen is a marvel of expressive restraint as a girl raised to be a prince in this 1920 film drawing on pre-Shakespearean sources. “One of the most intriguing screen adaptations of Shakespeare ever.”-Elliot Stein, Village Voice (110 mins)

  • Hamlet Goes Business

    • Friday, September 3 8:40 PM

    Aki Kaurismäki (Finland, 1987). Elsinore as HQ of the Finnish rubber-ducky industry. "Shakespeare isn't desecrated so much as rematerialized in gleaming black and white."-Premiere (86 mins)