Among the different cinematographic versions of various Shakespearean masterpieces, there is one that stands out for its unique features: The Tempest, directed by Julie Taymor. What is innovative about this film is that the main character, the magician Prospero, is interpreted by a woman instead of a man. According to the director, there was no actor who could perform every shade of this role at the best.
Nevertheless, Helen Mirren didn’t make the director regret her choice: her spontaneity, veracity and mastery contributed to rendering a faithful performance of the original character, the Duke of Milan, who is banished from his dukedom and exiled to a desert island with his young daughter Miranda.
Not less outstanding are the other members of the cast, since they had to interpret very challenging roles, such as that of Caliban, a deformed monster who is forced to become Prospera and Miranda’s slave, and Ariel, a spirit that will be blackmailed into helping the witch.
The film begins in the middle of a tempest. This is summoned up by Prospera in order to shipwreck Alonso’s boat. Alonso is the king of Naples and confederate of Antonio, the witch’s brother, who had dethroned his sister in order to become Duke of Milan. The survivors will be separated, and Ferdinando, Antonio’s son, will meet the love of his life, an event that will be the key to the final turning point.
From the beginning in medias res and the extremely careful shots Julie Taymor’s prowess and her attention in reproducing the original play emerge. The costumes are fundamental to understanding the characters’ innermost personality and social status.
In addition to photography, the soundtrack also plays an important role, as it is employed to underline each character’s distinguishing traits.
Produced in 2010, it evoked contrasting opinions from the critics, but we don’t think this should stop you from digging into the profundity of The Tempest.
Chiara Franzin, Beatrice Lorenzon, Eleonora Pavan, Alissa Scabbia e Asia Spaziani