Re-Watch: My Own Private Idaho (1991)

My Own Private Idaho
Director: Gus Van Sant
Writer: Gus Van Sant
Based on: William Shakespeare‘s Henry IV, Part 1, Henry IV, Part 2, and Henry V (loosely)
Cast: River Phoenix, Keanu Reeves, James Russo, William Richert, Rodney Harvey, Chiara Caselli, Flea, Grace Zabriskie, Udo Kier
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 23.9.2018

Mike (River Phoenix) and Scottie (Keanu Reeves) are hustlers, living in the streets of Portland. Scottie has been living this way for longer than Mike and shows Mike the ropes a little, introducing him to Bob Pigeon (William Richert) who is something between a pimp and a father figure for a lot of more or less homeless hustlers in the city. Scottie also takes care of Mike when he has one of his narcoleptic spells. Despite their closeness, there’s a chasm between Mike and Scottie as Mike doesn’t have many choices to live the way he does, while Scottie comes from a rich family and chose to hustle to embarrass them.

I saw My Own Private Idaho around 20 years ago and I understood very little of it back then. Seeing it now, opened up the film to me much more. That in itself is already a beautiful experience, but even without that part of the experience, the film is wonderful.

The film poster showing River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves.
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Henry IV Part 2

Henry IV Part 2
Director: Gregory Doran
Writer: William Shakespeare
Sequel to: Henry IV Part 1
Cast: Antony Sher, Alex Hassell, Jasper Britton, Sam Marks, Trevor White, Paola Dionisotti, Antony Byrne

Part 2 continues basically seamlessly from Part 1: Falstaff (Antony Sher) continues to be a drunken troublemaker, a trickster who cons his way through life. He is joined by a couple of characters who are likeminded – most notably Pistol (Antony Byrne). In the meantime Hal (Alex Hassell) comes ever closer to become the king. Henry (Jasper Britton) is slowly dying. But his faith in Hal is still rather weak.

Whereas I was emotionally involved in Part One, if only because I was so annoyed by Hal and Falstaff, Part 2 generally left me rather cold. Maybe I really have to read Shakespeare to appreciate him properly.


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