Twelfth Night, Or What You Will


1h 42m 2003

Brief Synopsis

A contemporary screen adaptation of one of Shakespeare's most celebrated and best loved comedies, produced with youth in mind but certain to please young and old. While staying true to the original dialogue and language, in his film debut director Tim Supple re-imagines the comedy of disguise, mista

Film Details

Also Known As
Twelfth Night, Or What You Will
Genre
Comedy
Foreign
Release Date
2003

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 42m

Synopsis

A contemporary screen adaptation of one of Shakespeare's most celebrated and best loved comedies, produced with youth in mind but certain to please young and old. While staying true to the original dialogue and language, in his film debut director Tim Supple re-imagines the comedy of disguise, mistaken identity and misplaced love for a 21st century audience by stressing the relevance of the theme of refugees to our time. The resultant tale follows twins Viola and Sebastian, asylum seekers who are separated and washed up on the strange island of Illyria--a contemporary, multicultural London dreamscape that is both soulful and sensual; dark and dangerous.

Film Details

Also Known As
Twelfth Night, Or What You Will
Genre
Comedy
Foreign
Release Date
2003

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 42m

Articles

Twelfth Night/MacBeth - Shakespeare on Film - Double Feature on DVD


Director Baz Luhrmann's audacious 1996 take on Romeo & Juliet made it fashionable for artists to try and render Shakespeare accessible to the young via modern dress, multicultural casting and substantial edits. Home Vision Entertainment recently issued a two-disc set containing a pair of such productions commissioned for broadcast by Britain's Channel 4, Twelfth Night (2003) and Macbeth (1998). Each of these adaptations offers mixed blessings as far as the justice done to the source material, but the overall strength of the performances by the principals render them worth consideration.

In concocting his tale of gender confusion and mistaken identity Twelfth Night, Shakespeare devoted much more effort to the comedy of his characters' situation than to the logic of how it unfolds. The setting is the coast of the fictional Illyria, where the heroine Viola (Parminder Negra) has just disembarked from a rescue at sea. Believing her twin brother Sebastian (Ronny Jhutti) lost in her shipwreck, Viola hits on a fairly grandiose plan for her survival. She adopts man-drag and the alias of "Cesario" in the hopes of receiving a position at court with the Illyrian count Orsino (Chiwetel Ejiofor).

With record speed, "Cesario" obtains the job, and becomes so entrenched in Orsino's graces that "he" becomes entrusted with a critical task. Orsino is smitten with Olivia (Claire Price), a noblewoman in perpetual morning after a family tragedy. Orsino sends "Cesario" to plead his case with Olivia, a task that Viola finds all the more grating because of her emerging feelings for the count. Matters worsen when Olivia becomes taken with her messenger.

Secondary complications are provided by Sir Toby Belch (David Troughton), Olivia's sodden wastrel of an uncle, who's trying to maintain his access to the family wealth by putting up his aging party crony Sir Andrew Aguecheek (Richard Bremner) as a potential suitor for his niece. His chicanery includes a scheme to humiliate Olivia's overbearing major domo Malvolio (Michael Maloney) by slipping him a forged mash note in Olivia's purported hand.

The adaptation by director and co-scenarist Tim Supple is long on visual flourish, and only on occasion do the proceedings feel stagebound. Nagra, who came to the project on the heels of her engaging work in the British feelgood favorite Bend It Like Beckham, may be a shade too solemnly earnest in her portrayal for the overall tone of the proceedings, but is effective nonetheless. Ejiofor (Dirty Pretty Things) is a commanding Orsino, and Troughton and Maloney deserve particular mention for their mining of the comic possibilities in their roles.

In turning to the Channel 4 production of "the Scottish play," director Michael Bogdanove put his players in contemporary guerrilla dress and placed the military conflicts of the play in a post-apocalyptic near future. It's an interesting choice, but the end results aren't wholly effective; the countryside location shots are just too lush to convey the scorched-earth feel that the filmmakers seemed to be striving for. Moreover, enough of the narrative is excised to make the entire adaptation clock in at a tidy 87 minutes. Still, the performers approach the estimable source material with verve, and the end result makes at least a palatable "MacLite" of immediacy to the middle-school students to whom the project was targeted.

Sean Pertwee is more than serviceable in the title role, nicely depicting the protagonist's slide into obsession and dementia as he seeks to self-fulfill the prophecies of the three witches (played here as ragged, trash-picking harridans). He's well complemented by the lovely Greta Scacchi as Lady MacBeth, who registers well in conveying the crushing guilt for her crimes and the slow madness it has engendered. Notable in the supporting cast are Maloney, again, as Banquo, and Lorcan Cranitch as MacDuff.

Home Vision cleanly mastered the productions and presented each in their original aspect ratios (1.85:1 for Twelfth Night, 1.66:1 for Macbeth). The package is surprisingly light on extras, with the only supplements taking the form of sparse notes on the liner insert from Supple and from Macbeth producer Sue Pritchard.

For more information about Twelfth Night/MacBeth, visit Home Vision Entertainment. To order Twelfth Night/MacBeth, go to TCM Shopping.

by Jay Steinberg
Twelfth Night/macbeth - Shakespeare On Film - Double Feature On Dvd

Twelfth Night/MacBeth - Shakespeare on Film - Double Feature on DVD

Director Baz Luhrmann's audacious 1996 take on Romeo & Juliet made it fashionable for artists to try and render Shakespeare accessible to the young via modern dress, multicultural casting and substantial edits. Home Vision Entertainment recently issued a two-disc set containing a pair of such productions commissioned for broadcast by Britain's Channel 4, Twelfth Night (2003) and Macbeth (1998). Each of these adaptations offers mixed blessings as far as the justice done to the source material, but the overall strength of the performances by the principals render them worth consideration. In concocting his tale of gender confusion and mistaken identity Twelfth Night, Shakespeare devoted much more effort to the comedy of his characters' situation than to the logic of how it unfolds. The setting is the coast of the fictional Illyria, where the heroine Viola (Parminder Negra) has just disembarked from a rescue at sea. Believing her twin brother Sebastian (Ronny Jhutti) lost in her shipwreck, Viola hits on a fairly grandiose plan for her survival. She adopts man-drag and the alias of "Cesario" in the hopes of receiving a position at court with the Illyrian count Orsino (Chiwetel Ejiofor). With record speed, "Cesario" obtains the job, and becomes so entrenched in Orsino's graces that "he" becomes entrusted with a critical task. Orsino is smitten with Olivia (Claire Price), a noblewoman in perpetual morning after a family tragedy. Orsino sends "Cesario" to plead his case with Olivia, a task that Viola finds all the more grating because of her emerging feelings for the count. Matters worsen when Olivia becomes taken with her messenger. Secondary complications are provided by Sir Toby Belch (David Troughton), Olivia's sodden wastrel of an uncle, who's trying to maintain his access to the family wealth by putting up his aging party crony Sir Andrew Aguecheek (Richard Bremner) as a potential suitor for his niece. His chicanery includes a scheme to humiliate Olivia's overbearing major domo Malvolio (Michael Maloney) by slipping him a forged mash note in Olivia's purported hand. The adaptation by director and co-scenarist Tim Supple is long on visual flourish, and only on occasion do the proceedings feel stagebound. Nagra, who came to the project on the heels of her engaging work in the British feelgood favorite Bend It Like Beckham, may be a shade too solemnly earnest in her portrayal for the overall tone of the proceedings, but is effective nonetheless. Ejiofor (Dirty Pretty Things) is a commanding Orsino, and Troughton and Maloney deserve particular mention for their mining of the comic possibilities in their roles. In turning to the Channel 4 production of "the Scottish play," director Michael Bogdanove put his players in contemporary guerrilla dress and placed the military conflicts of the play in a post-apocalyptic near future. It's an interesting choice, but the end results aren't wholly effective; the countryside location shots are just too lush to convey the scorched-earth feel that the filmmakers seemed to be striving for. Moreover, enough of the narrative is excised to make the entire adaptation clock in at a tidy 87 minutes. Still, the performers approach the estimable source material with verve, and the end result makes at least a palatable "MacLite" of immediacy to the middle-school students to whom the project was targeted. Sean Pertwee is more than serviceable in the title role, nicely depicting the protagonist's slide into obsession and dementia as he seeks to self-fulfill the prophecies of the three witches (played here as ragged, trash-picking harridans). He's well complemented by the lovely Greta Scacchi as Lady MacBeth, who registers well in conveying the crushing guilt for her crimes and the slow madness it has engendered. Notable in the supporting cast are Maloney, again, as Banquo, and Lorcan Cranitch as MacDuff. Home Vision cleanly mastered the productions and presented each in their original aspect ratios (1.85:1 for Twelfth Night, 1.66:1 for Macbeth). The package is surprisingly light on extras, with the only supplements taking the form of sparse notes on the liner insert from Supple and from Macbeth producer Sue Pritchard. For more information about Twelfth Night/MacBeth, visit Home Vision Entertainment. To order Twelfth Night/MacBeth, go to TCM Shopping. by Jay Steinberg

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 2003

Shown at Vancouver International Film Festival September 25 - October 10, 2003.

DigiBeta

Released in United States 2003 (Shown at Vancouver International Film Festival September 25 - October 10, 2003.)