Beckett on Film

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Beckett on Film
Directed by Anthony Minghella
Atom Egoyan
Charles Sturridge
Conor McPherson
Damien O'Donnell
Produced by Michael Colgan
Alan Moloney
Written by Samuel Beckett
Starring Penelope Wilton
Harold Pinter
Julianne Moore
Release dates 29 August 2002
Running time 647 minutes
Language English

Beckett on Film was a project aimed at making film versions of all nineteen of Samuel Beckett's stage plays, with the exception of the early and unperformed Eleutheria. This endeavour was successfully completed, with the first films being shown in 2001.

The project was conceived by Michael Colgan, artistic director of Dublin's Gate Theatre. The films were produced by Colgan and Alan Moloney for the Irish broadcaster RTÉ, the British broadcaster Channel 4 and the Irish Film Board. Each had a different cast and director, drawn from theatre, film and other fields.

Ten of the films were screened at the 2000 Toronto International Film Festival and some shown on Channel 4 television. On Wednesday, 6 February 2002, the series won the Best TV Drama award at the 6th The South Bank Show Award at the Savoy Theatre in London. The films never enjoyed a general cinematic release, but, in September 2001, all nineteen were screened at the Barbican Centre in London. They were also released in a number of videos and as a four-DVD box set, comprising a souvenir programme and numerous additional features.

A documentary video, titled Check the Gate: Putting Beckett on Film and directed by Pearse Lehane, was released on 5 February 2003. It followed closely the project's work.[1]

Credits[edit]

Waiting for Godot[edit]

The play was originally published in 1952. Of directing the film version, Michael Lindsay-Hogg said, "Beckett creates an amazing blend of comedy, high wit and an almost unbearable poignancy in a funny yet heartbreaking image of man's fate. With the camera, you can pick those moments and emphasise them, making Beckett's rare and extraordinary words all the more intimate [...]. The play is about what it is about. Samuel Beckett would have said it's about two men waiting on the side of the road for someone to turn up. But you can invest in the importance of who is going to turn up. Is it a local farmer? Is it God? Is it salvation? Or is it simply someone who just doesn't show up?

"The important thing is the ambiguity, the fact that it doesn't really state what it is. That's why it's so great for the audience to be part of it: they fill in a lot of the blanks; it works in their imaginations.

"For me, Beckett's view of the world is quite sadly accurate. We are all really just bugs in the carpet."[2][3]

The cast was composed of the following:

Endgame[edit]

Original play published 1957.

Happy Days[edit]

Original play published 1960.

Act Without Words I[edit]

Original play written 1956.

Act Without Words II[edit]

Original play written 1956.

Krapp's Last Tape[edit]

Original play written 1958.

Rough for Theatre I[edit]

Original play written late 1950s.

Rough for Theatre II[edit]

Original play written late 1950s.

Play[edit]

Original play written 1963.

Come and Go[edit]

Original play written 1965.

Breath[edit]

Original play written 1969.

Not I[edit]

Original play written 1972.

That Time[edit]

Original play written 1975.

Footfalls[edit]

Original play written 1975.

A Piece of Monologue[edit]

Original play written 1980.

Rockaby[edit]

Original play written 1981.

Ohio Impromptu[edit]

Original play written 1981.

Catastrophe[edit]

Original play written 1982.

What Where[edit]

Original play written 1983.

Criticism[edit]

Many aspects of the plays' interpretations and performances have been critiqued by fans of Samuel Beckett, stating that not enough focus was placed on the words, and that many important aspects of the plays were lost because of it. Others have said that the plays were over-acted or over-directed, and that at times the cinematography was overdone. (The Checking the Gate documentary addresses some of the naysaying, allowing at least one knowledgeable critic to have his say.)

For instance, Waiting for Godot, Beckett's most popular and successful play, is highly dependent on the two main characters, Estragon and Vladimir, and their likeability. However, the humour of the characters' words was not as pronounced as some fans would have liked.

In general, though, reviews were more laudatory. Michael Dwyer, film correspondent of The Irish Times dubbed it "Commendably ambitious and remarkably successful, a truly unique collection".[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0421968/
  2. ^ "Waiting for Godot". Beckett on Film. Retrieved 29 March 2013. 
  3. ^ "Waiting for Godot". Beckett on Film. Retrieved 29 March 2013. 
  4. ^ http://www.beckettonfilm.com/

External links[edit]