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Interview Comparing Oliver Parker's "Othello' And Tim Blake Nelson's 'o' To The Original Play Othello. Othello William Shakespeare

1234 words - 5 pages

Hello and welcome to the movie show. This week we have James Pearson, a recognised Shakespearean authority and critic to discuss two film adaptations of the Shakespearean play Othello. Oliver Parker's 1995 production and Tim Blake Nelson's 'O' will be the two films analysed against the original play. James, which do you think better represents Shakespeare's original intent?Well Paul, it would be very hard to decide because the target audience is vastly different for each movie. Both directors attempted to modernize their productions, but they each had diverse intents for their films and unique interpretations of the play. Blake Nelson's 'O' is directed at a modern day teenage audience, and is an alternative reading of the text, while Oliver Parker's audience is a broader demographic, focussed particularly on Shakespearean fans. It is more a dominant reading of the original play.So how have the differing target audiences and readings of the text affected the plot development of each movie?Both directors have changed or added scenes to the plot to attempt to modernize their productions. Parker has closely followed the original plot, adding a handful of scenes and cutting over half of the original script in order to present it in a two hour time slot. He uses a number of events, such as the sex scene between Othello and Desdemona to replace text from the original play while still portraying the same idea. In these added scenarios, he has deliberately retained the original discourses in the play, even enhancing several aspects. For example, Parker is careful to play up the love affair between the title character and his wife so that when the inevitable occurs, it has a more profound impact. When Othello declares, "My life upon Desdemona's faith," you believe him. Nelson has also followed the storyline from the text fairly closely, with a number of scenes holding a direct relationship with the play. He has, however, changed the setting to a modern day high school and added a number of new scenes, such as the slam-dunk competition. While these enhance some aspects of the play, the slight deviation from the plot has weakened various discourses from the original text. Nevertheless, this was necessary in order for the film to appeal to its target audience.You mentioned the change of setting in 'O'. How did that affect the representation of the discourses in the original play?Nelson modernized Othello by adapting it to the present-day school system, while also satisfying one of his other intents for the production; using Shakespeare as a lens through which to analyse teen violence in America. He has cleverly used basketball as the new battlezone which, combined with the high school setting, allows his audience to easily identify with the movie. However, he has only briefly addressed key discourses of the original play, the notion of civilized versus uncivilized. In the original text, Shakespeare used several examples to convey the notion of the civility of...

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