Saturday, July 07, 2007

Film — As You Like It

Suddenly, ninjas! Hundreds of them.

Branagh takes Shakespeare's Arcadian rom-com and relocates it to a gaijin trading colony in Meiji Japan, with Brian Blessed playing both dukes, and English woodland, with a thin patina of props and extras plays Japan playing Arden -- Japan being Branagh's choice for somewhere that in the modern world has the split between rus and urbs on such a fine scale and in such proximity, rather than simply an excuse for Orlando to decorate the forest with massive calligraphy dedicated to his ロザリンド.

The film elaborates on the play by opening with the overthrow of the elder Duke; and book-ending it with the younger's conversion and Jacques joining him in the contemplative life. Oh, and then the epilogue, which breaks the 4th wall as cunningly here as it does in the original.

Branagh and Blessed spoke and took questions after the film; the one looking very artistic in casual jacket, the other looking at first glance like some special needs or homeless person in scruffy shell-suit and fleece. There was initially a problem with the radio mikes -- they seemed to be relaying the dialogue from obe of the German films -- but Brian Blessed was able to work around that little technical difficulty.

There was a bit of luvvie-anecdotage, a measure of Shakespeare worship, and answering of "Why Japan?"

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