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Theater into Film

May 27 (Sunday) 7 pm


Directed by Derek Jarman
UK 1991, 35mm, color, 90 min.
With Jody Graber, Tilda Swinton, Nigel Terry

The late British artist and filmmaker Derek Jarman (Caravaggio, The Last of England) created works of both great beauty and controversy. His most commercially successful film, Edward II, is an adaptation of Christopher Marlowe’s play that purists might consider shocking. Moving the work’s latent homosexual subtext to the forefront, Jarman blends the story of the man crowned King of England with contemporary depictions of homosexual repression and gay activism, as Edward is dethroned for taking a male lover. Visually striking, dramatically convincing, and with its gay politics firmly grounded in English history and theater, Edward II was one of Jarman’s final films and a ringing condemnation of societal homophobia.

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June 3 (Sunday) 7 pm

Chimes at Midnight

Directed by Orson Welles
Spain/Switzerland 1965, 35mm, b/w, 115 min.
With Orson Welles, Jeanne Moreau, John Gielgud

Aside from the legendary Citizen Kane, Chimes at Midnight is the only other film over which Orson Welles wielded complete creative control. An elegiac tragicomedy about the relationship between Falstaff and Prince Hal, the film was adapted from several of Shakespeare’s plays. Welles claimed lack of financing hampered the film, yet his atmospheric black-and-white cinematography is highly effective, particularly in the muddy, chaotic battle scenes that were clearly borrowed by Kenneth Branagh for Henry V. While John Gielgud is sublime as the guilt-ridden Henry IV and Jeanne Moreau is a lusty Doll Tearsheet, the most fascinating performance comes from Welles himself. His Falstaff is gentle, pathetic, boastful, grotesque, yet well-meaning.

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Harvard Film Archive • Carpenter Center • 24 Quincy Street • Cambridge MA 02138 • 617-495-4700