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DC Great Books Reading Group Message Board › King Lear at the National Art Gallery

King Lear at the National Art Gallery

Kathy M.
user 13392044
Washington, DC
Post #: 25
Shelby talked about rereading King Lear. A Russian version will be shown at the National Art Gallery this Saturday, and Hamlet on Sunday. It is a program to honor Shostakovich, who did the music for the films.

Shostakovich and the Cinema

October 20, 21, 28
November 3, 4

East Building Concourse, Auditorium

Films featuring scores by Dmitri Shostakovich plus a screening of Tony Palmer's Testimony are presented in association with PostClassical Ensemble's Interpreting Shostakovich festival. "When talking about Soviet film we must remember Lenin's famous statement that 'of all the arts, the most important for us is the cinema.' It was Stalin who turned the dictum into reality . . . . Stalin loved the movies"—Solomon Volkov. Volkov (author of Testimony: The Memoirs of Dmitri Shostakovich) is a participant in the series, along with filmmaker Tony Palmer, film historian Peter Rollberg, music historian Roy Guenther, and PostClassical Ensemble's music director Angel Gil-Ordóñez and artistic director Joseph Horowitz.

King Lear

October 20 at 2:30

East Building Concourse, Auditorium

Musical prelude with Georgetown University Chamber Singers
Roy Guenther and Peter Rollberg, discussants

Before World War II Russian film director Grigori Kozintsev directed a stage version of King Lear in a Russian translation by Boris Pasternak. In 1970 he revisited this text to make his film adaptation, shooting on austere landscapes in Estonia with a cast of Baltic actors including the revered Jüri Järvet in the title role. On the subject of Shostakovich's music, Kozintsev noted, "I can hear a ferocious hatred of cruelty, the cult of power, and the oppression of justice . . . a fearless goodness which has a threatening quality." (Grigori Kozintsev, 1971, 35 mm, Russian with subtitles, 139 minutes)


October 21 at 4:00

East Building Concourse, Auditorium

Roy Guenther and Peter Rollberg, discussants

Creatively pruning the text of Shakespeare's play, Russian director Grigori Kozintsev remains true to the structure, although a number of familiar scenes have been shortened or rendered in visual terms sans dialogue. "Hamlet" has always been filmed in studios but it seems to me that the key to reincarnating Shakespeare's words in visual imagery can only be found in nature . . . . In decisive places, [we must] oust period stylization of the Tudor era and of English affectation, and express the essentials. I have in mind stone, iron, fire, earth, and sea." Laurence Olivier proclaimed it the best adaptation ever. (Grigori Kozintsev, 1964, 35 mm, Russian with subtitles, 140 minutes)

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