Fantastic Shorts Competition at the /slash Filmfestival 2017

A short note on all the short films at the /slash Filmfestival 2017 that were part of the Fantastic Shorts Competition. The winner was Rémy Rondeau for his short J’aime Eva Marsh.
Seen on: 22.9.2017, 25.9.2017, 26.9.2017

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Othello

Othello
Director: Iqbal Khan
Writer: William Shakespeare
Cast: Hugh Quarshie, Lucian Msamati, Joanna Vanderham, Ayesha Dharker, Jacob Fortune-Lloyd, James Corrigan, Scarlett Brookes, Brian Protheroe
Seen on: 26.8.2015

Plot:
When Iago (Lucian Msamati) doesn’t get the promotion he expected from his superior, Othello (Hugh Quarshie), but instead has to watch the younger Cassio (Jacob Fortune-Lloyd) getting promoted above him, he decides to have his revenge on Othello and Cassio. He uses the people around him to make Othello insanely jealous of his wife Desdemona (Joanna Vanderham). He spins intrigue after intrigue and, as can be expected, things don’t end well.

Othello is basically the classic play about race relations and since it was done many times already, people like to switch it around. The last time I saw it [if you don’t count the re-write I saw] (which was many years ago and still has one of the most mind-boggling casts I ever saw on stage), everybody but Iago and Desdemona was a person of color, this time they made Iago black to see what changes. And while I like the thought of that experiment, I didn’t like this production of the play. It was way too boring.

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Desdemona

[Festwochen.]

Desdemona was written by Toni Morrison, directed by Peter Sellars, with music by Rokia Traoré and starring Elizabeth Marvel.

Plot:
Desdemona is a feminist reworking of Shakespeare‘s Othello: Desdemona (Elizabeth Marvel) remembers her life from her grave. She tells her story to her African nurse Barbary (Rokia Traoré), who answers her with songs about liberation, freedom and love.

Desdemona starts off well but then kind of peters out (probably at the same rate the oxygen left the room, so it might not be entirely the play’s fault). It’s a professional, very well-made production. It just didn’t speak to me at all. Though I did like the music.

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Othello

Slowly, slowly, I’ll get all my reviews done. Because of my slight OCD, I decided that I’ll stick to the chronological order (at least mostly). We’re now at the end of June (the 20th, to be exact).

In June, there was still the Wiener Festwochen (Viennese Theater Festival). I already wrote about other productions I have seen, but this particular show was definitely the climax.

On to the actual review.

Othello is a play by William Shakespeare, for those of you who didn’t know. I saw the production by the LAByrinth Theatre Company, directed by Peter Sellars and starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, John Ortiz, Jessica Chastain and LeRoy McClain.

Plot:
When Iago (Philip Seymour Hoffman) doesn’t get the promotion he expected from his superior, Othello (John Ortiz), who happens to be black, but instead has to watch the younger Cassio (LeRoy McClain) getting promoted above him, he decides to have his revenge on Othello and Cassio. He uses the people around him to make Othello insanely jealous of his wife Desdemona (Jessica Chastain), he spins intrigue after intrigue and, as can be expected, things don’t end well.

The play is very good and the production was interesting. It was modernised, though they did stick to the original text. The acting was superb. But I did have some problems with some of the political messages Sellars wanted to send here. Still, it’s a super-special-awesome treat to just watch the cast and definitely worth the four and a half hours you spend in the theatre.

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