Make the leap from the stage to the silver screen with the Iowa City Public Library’s Shakespeare on Film series.
Beginning Thursday, Aug. 18, and continuing every Thursday through Sept. 22, the Library will show either a film adaptation of one of William Shakespeare’s plays or a movie inspired by his work.
This six-week film series is one of several events the Library has planned in celebration of First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare exhibit at the University of Iowa Libraries. A rare first folio on loan from the Folger Shakespeare Library, as well as Shakespeare-related items from the University of Iowa Libraries’ Special Collections, will be on display at the UI Main Library Gallery Aug. 29 through Sept. 25.
Faculty from the University of Iowa will introduce each film. All films will be shown in ICPL’s Meeting Room A, beginning at 7 p.m.
Thursday, Aug. 18: Much Ado About Nothing
Director Kenneth Branagh and then-wife Emma Thompson play Benedick and Beatrice, Shakespeare’s wittiest warring couple, in this exuberant version of one of his most hilarious and romantic comedies. (1993; 110 minutes)
Thursday, Aug. 25: Henry V
Laurence Oliver stars in and directs this powerful version of Shakespeare’s history play. Produced in the shadow of World War II to boost British morale, Olivier’s first film as a director was given a special Academy Award for bringing this work so vividly to the screen. (1944; 137 minutes)
Thursday, Sept. 1: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
Tom Stoppard’s own film adaptation of his most famous play centers on two of minor figures from Hamlet: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. The pair observed most of the action of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedy from the wings. Gary Oldman and Tim Roth may or may not play the frequently befuddled title characters. (1991; 118 minutes)
Thursday, Sept. 8: Romeo + Juliet
Baz Luhrmann’s outrageous take on Shakespeare’s famous tragedy of star-crossed teenage lovers sticks to the script while wildly updating everything else, resulting in perhaps the first major post-MTV Shakespeare adaptation. Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes play the doomed, yet immortal couple. (1996; 120 minutes)
Thursday, Sept. 15: “O”
Actor and director Tim Blake Nelson’s powerful update of Shakespeare’s tragedy Othello boldly relocates the story of love, loyalty, jealousy, and betrayal in a modern American high school. Among other elements, the film features an inventive soundtrack. (2001; 94 minutes)
Thursday, Sept. 22: Looking for Richard
Al Pacino’s unique take on Shakespeare’s Richard III is a rare, revealing investigation of the actor’s art. Seeking his own approach to one of the great, sympathetic villains in theatre history, Pacino’s behind-the-scenes documentary is as mesmerizing as his eventual stage performance in the role must have been. Appearances by some of Shakespeare’s most famous modern interpreters are also featured in Pacino’s first, award-winning film as a director. (1996; 112 minutes)
Shakespeare on Film is free and open to the public. For more information, call the Library at 319-356-5200.