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
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Plot:
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 V

Henry V
Director: Gregory Doran
Writer: William Shakespeare
Cast: Alex Hassell, Jennifer Kirby, Sam Marks, Antony Byrne, Oliver Ford Davies, Sean Chapman, Daniel Abbott, Simon Thorp
Seen on: 21.10.2015
[Here are my reviews of Richard II, Henry IV Part 1 and Part 2 out of the same production cycle.]

Plot:
Hal, now Henry (Alex Hassell), has succeeded his father as King of England, forcing him to finally grow up and prove himself to England. For that he goes to war with France where he lays claim to parts of the country, hoping to unify the English behind himself in the face of a common enemy.

Oh man. I’m not a huge fan of Shakespeare’s histories (though I did enjoy Richard II and I have hopes that I will like Richard III when I get around to it properly). But Henry V might actually be worse than even Henry IV. I was so bored, I hardly have words for it.

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Kings of War – DNF

Kings of War
Director: Ivo van Hove
Writer: Bart Van den Eynde, Peter Van Kraaij, Rob Klinkenberg
Based on: William Shakespeare‘s Henry V, Henry VI and Richard III
Cast: Kitty Courbois, Hélène Devos, Fred Goessens, Janni Goslinga, Aus Greidanus jr., Robert de Hoog, Hans Kesting, Hugo Koolschijn, Ramsey Nasr, Chris Nietvelt, Alwin Pulinckx, Bart Slegers, Eelco Smits, Harm Duco Schut
Part of: Wiener Festwochen
Seen on: 7.6.2015

Plot:
Henry V ascends the throne after his father’s death a little too young, but he matures into a King who leads Great Britain into war with France  that he wins. But once his son, Henry VI, follows him on the throne, the power Henry V built starts to crumble. Henry VI is weak, easily swayed and not interested in ruling at all. That gives the House of York the opportunity to take over the throne, first with Edward IV as King. But Edward is betrayed by his younger brother, Richard III, who cruelly deposes him and takes over the power.

Kings of War takes three of Shakespeare’s plays and bundles them into one theatrical evening – a long one. While it is interesting to see the plays forming such a coherent whole, it’s extremely dense – and I admit that I left about half an hour or so before it ended because I just couldn’t take it anymore.

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