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William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream

Love makes fools of all of us 

Year: 1999 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC PG Cert – Parental guidance 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  

“The course of true love never did run smooth”... Not so much star-crossed lovers this time, but lovers who can’t quite get together with the right partner. Lysander and Hermia love each other; Helena loves Dimitrius, who is to marry Hermia; and Oberon and Titania, king and queen of the fairies, have a rather comical love-hate relationship. Of course, it all turns out right in the end, but only after much anguish for the characters, and laughter for the audience. Oh, and some help, albeit misplaced at times, from the mischievous spirits in the wood. All this set around a play within the play, a farcical production by Bottom and his friends who, of course, are dragged into the ever-more complicated plot themselves.

Michelle Pfeiffer as Titania, and Ally McBeal’s Calista Flockhart as the neurotic Helena give good performances. However, Kevin Kline as Bottom rather steals the show, especially in his time as the ass!

The film takes place in late 19th Century Italy, whilst Shakespeare set it in 15th Century Athens. Exactly why Hoffman has chosen to do this is unclear, especially as part of the plot revolves around Athenian betrothal laws. Although it does, rather strangely, allow the fairies to use bicycles to get around... The link to Athens is, however, maintained with an interesting use of Greek culture in the presentation of the fairies.

Despite these inconsistencies, this is, of course, a journey through magic and adventure, and the beautiful music, scenic shots, and exceptional use of costumes, makeup and effects such as glimmering fairies and disappearing shadows, show it to be just this.

F. Bacon

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Screenings of this film:

1999/2000 Spring Term (35mm)
1999/2000 Spring Term (35mm)