Othello, King of Bebop

Attempts to bring Shakespeare to the masses can be ill-advised and most film adaptations of the Bard’s work are either faithful copies of the stage plays such as Laurence Olivier’s Henry V (1944) and Richard III (1955) that preserve the language of the original or creative interpretations that either result in a broader appeal (Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet, 1996) or earn the wrath of the Shakespeare purists without appealing to anyone else. All Night Long (1962), which updates Othello to London’s West End in the early sixties and transforms the Moor of Venice into a renowned jazz pianist known as Aurelius Rex (Paul Harris), falls into the latter category.      Continue reading

William Greaves: Pushing Boundaries

What the heck is Symbiopsychotaxiplasm Take One? Is it a documentary or is it fiction? Maybe it’s a pretentious mess masquerading as art or possibly the most unique experimental film of the late sixties. We’re talking about William Greaves’s rarely seen 1968 work which was released on DVD in December 2006 by the Criterion Collection, thanks to the efforts of filmmakers Steven Soderbergh and Steve Buscemi who were so impressed with this one-of-a-kind collaboration that they helped Greaves’s produce his long-in-the-works sequel to it – Symbiopsychotaxiplasm Take 2 1/2 – in 2005 (and which is also included on the Criterion disc).   Continue reading