Wednesday, August 01, 2007

As You Like It

The exotic location and multi-ethnic cast of Keneth Branagh's excellent adaptation of Shakespeare’s As You Like It bears testimony to the timeless quality of the play. It is hard to watch this film and not be reminded of Peter Brook's Mahabharata. The epic is about the eternal conflict between good and evil. It made perfect sense therefore to use a cast from around to the world to convey the universality of the theme.

Love and romance is as independent of geographic location as it is of time. By taking the play out of the rigid confines of both, Branagh makes it more accessible to a much larger audience including those who are unfamiliar with Shakespeare. Even if the lines don't ring familiar to everyone the theme of love and romance surely will.

The characters seem very comfortable in their rendition of Shakespeare in unfamiliar surroundings and context. There is a distinctly modern sensibility and a casual vibe about the film despite the florid language. The scene celebrating the coming wedding of lovers and everyone's return to the court brings about a joyous and colorful finale to this imaginative variation on Shakespeare's As You Like It.

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