“Shakespeare Must Die” Banned in Thailand


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.148  Wednesday, 4 April 2012


From:        Hardy M. Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Subject:     “Shakespeare Must Die” Banned in Thailand


[Editor’s Note: My older daughter Melissa passed this story on to me from the Huffington Post Online. –Hardy]


Thailand Bans ‘Shakespeare Must Die’: ‘Macbeth’ Film Adaptation Deemed Offensive




By Thanyarat Doksone 04/ 4/12 10:03 AM ET AP


BANGKOK — Thailand’s film censors have banned an adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Macbeth,” saying it could inflame political passions in the country where it is taboo to criticize the monarchy.


The Thai-language film “Shakespeare Must Die” tells the story of a theater group in a fictional country resembling Thailand that is staging a production of “Macbeth,” in which an ambitious general murders his way to the Scottish throne.


One of the film’s main characters is a dictator named “Dear Leader,” who resembles former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, whose ouster in a 2006 coup sparked years of political turmoil between his supporters and critics.


Censors at the Culture Ministry issued a brief memo Tuesday saying that the film could not be distributed in Thailand because it “has content that causes divisiveness among the people of the nation.” The memo did not specify which scenes were deemed offensive.


But, Ing K., the film’s director, said the censorship committee objected to anti-monarchy overtones in the film as well as politically charged content, including a scene based on an iconic photo from Bangkok’s 1976 student uprising showing a demonstrator being lynched.


“The committee questioned why we wanted to bring back violent pain from the past to make people angry,” Ing K. said in an interview Wednesday. The censors also disliked the attire of a murderer in the film, who wore a bright red hooded cloak – the same color worn by the pro-Thaksin demonstrators known as the “Red Shirts.”


The director called the ruling “absurd” and a reflection of the fear in Thai society.

“I feel like we are heading to a very dark, dark place right now – a place full of fears and everyone has to be extra careful about what they say,” Ing said.


She said the character resembling Thaksin could represent any leader accused of corruption and abuse of power. “When Cambodians watch this they’ll think it’s Hun Sen. When Libyans watch it they would think it's Gadhafi,” she said.


[ . . . ]


Ing K. said she plans to appeal the ban.


Trailer available here: http://youtu.be/vd6JEk6Imco


Orson Welles’s Shakespeare Films on the Big Screen This April in Basel


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.147  Wednesday, 4 April 2012


From:        Matthias Heim <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         April 4, 2012 8:02:30 AM EDT

Subject:    Orson Welles’s Shakespeare Films on the Big Screen This April in Basel


A small cinema in Switzerland, the Stadtkino Basel, is currently screening a retrospective of Orson Welles’ work, and they will screen all three of Welles’s adaptations of Shakespeare plays from 35mm-prints, (except Macbeth, which will use a 16mm print).


CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT (FALSTAFF) will be shown on FRI 20.4 2012 15:15, MON 23.4 2012 21:00, and FRI 27.4 2012 20:00 (in English, with French subtitles)


MACBETH will be shown on MON  09.4 2012 15:15, WED 11.4 2012 21:00, and SUN 15.4 2012 13:00 (in English, with French and German subtitles)


THE TRAGEDY OF OTHELLO: THE MOOR OF VENICE will be shown on THU  05.4 2012 21:00, SUN  08.4 2012 13:30, and WED 18.4 2012 18:30 (in English, with French and German subtitles)


More information (in German) can be found here: http://stadtkino.ch/filmreihe_stadtkino.php?rid=115&m=1


Out of these, Othello is of special interest, as it almost certainly will be the European cut that is screened, with Welles spoken opening titles (This is the version I’ve seen at the same cinema before, but they couldn’t confirm this). This version – unlike the American print – has no synch issues, nor does it suffer from the brutal cuts of the 1991 restoration that we all know from DVD.


Though there have been three DVD-releases of Chimes at Midnight over the last year (and a fourth, hopefully better, is forthcoming – as I understand – from Mr. Bongo Films), there hasn’t been a proper release since Studio Canal had to pull their excellent DVD from the market in 2005, and it is only rarely screened due to the complications over the rights. As far as I know, the film has only been screened three times over the last couple of years: at the Locarno Festival in 2005, (when the organisers had to secure special permission from Saltzman’s widow Adriana), from an archival DVD in Los Angeles in summer 2010, and last August at a special screening in London (where I missed it). Though there have been rumours that the legal situation is clearing itself – and the count of DVD releases seems to suggest this – this film remains a very rarely screened gem . . .  I hope the cinema won’t have to cancel the screening, I didn’t dare ask whether they secured the rights…





Matthias Heim


Faculté des lettres / Université de Neuchâtel

Institute of English Studies

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Hamlet's Fat


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.146  Monday, 2 April 2012


From:        Steve Roth <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         April 2, 2012 11:02:38 AM EDT

Subject:     Re: Fat


Sorry all but I just can’t resist taking one more shot at the “fat” Hamlet business. Gertrude’s usage echoes for me with all the suggestions in Hamlet that the world is in some kind of moral decline, a “drossy age.” It grows fat. So this line glancingly shows “the very age and | body of the time his forme and pressure.”


2743+20 {This is th'Imposthume of much wealth and peace,} 4.4.28

2743+21 {That inward breakes, and showes no cause without} 4.4.29


3330-1 haue {tooke} <taken> note of it, | the age is growne so picked, that the toe of the

3331-3 pesant | coms so neere the {heele} <heeles> of {the} <our> Courtier he galls his | kybe. 


3652-3 {many} <mine> more of the same {breede} <Beauy> | that I know the drossy age dotes on,

3653-4 only got the tune of | the time, and {out of an} <outward> habit of incounter, a

3654-5 kind of {histy} | <yesty> colection, which carries them through and through

3656     the most {prophane and trennowed} <fond and winnowed> opinions, and doe but blowe 5.2.193

3657     them to their {triall,} <tryalls:> the bubbles are out. 5.2.194


So like so many in Hamlet, Gertrude is applying a sort of hackneyed but widely bruited truism to Hamlet, to her own ends—in this case (per Tony Burton) to smooth over discord that threatens to burst its cerements, while allowing Shakespeare to add a few more intertwined threads to the density of his artistic tapestry.


Shakespearean Originals King Lear


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.145  Monday, 2 April 2012


From:        Steve Urkowitz <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:        April 1, 2012 12:05:55 PM EDT

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Lear


I learned a couple of things over my many decades of arguing. The first is that arguing generally won’t change the mind of the person you’re arguing with. But then again it may have some impact on the opinions of folks standing around watching the fight. I’m having too much other fun today and the sky here in Maine is brilliant blue, calling me out to ride my bike, so I can’t spend a lot of time just now on Gerald Downs’s very serious (and nicely witty) responses to my irreverent and slangy comments.  But in the meantime for a start let me suggest that folk check into opinions about John of Bordeaux other than Downs’s. He proposes that manuscript is a “remarkably accurate” document that supports the whole project of memorial and/or oral-via-shorthand rather than direct scriptorial(?) transmission.


>The text of John of Bordeaux, phonetically transcribed throughout, 

>is remarkably accurate. Some object that readers must agree with 

>my conclusion that the play is a shorthand report before they can 

>accept the implications I describe; that’s true. But I’m willing to put 

>my arguments and the textual evidence to the test.


One might look at Grace Ioppolo’s DRAMATISTS AND THEIR MANUSCRIPTS . . .esp. pp. 120-1 for a less fantastically speculative analysis of what that manuscript represents.  And to clear some of the sour taste of the dyspeptic reviews he cites of my really quite jolly REVISION OF KING LEAR book, I invite readers to taste the book itself rather than the unhappy refluxes of the book’s (few, maybe five out of thirty-plus total number) bitterly negative reviewers.  


More about this some later time, though. I’m out to ride in the sun.


Steve Ur-bike-owitz


Hebrew Verbs


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.144  Monday, 2 April 2012


From:        Hannibal Hamlin <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         March 31, 2012 2:41:42 PM EDT

Subject:    Re: Hebrew Verbs


Others on the list with Hebrew less rudimentary than mine will no doubt be able to answer with more precision, but, yes, it is my understanding that Hebrew does not have tense in the same way European languages do. Hebrew verbs have forms designating complete or incomplete action. In terms of Exodus 3:14, the result is that while the Geneva translation is correct, it is also reductive, since one might translate equally accurately using different English tenses—I am be what I will be, etc. One implication is that God’s self-description—not really one, let alone a name—includes eternal immutability—was, is, will be.


My point in the Blackwell’s “Shakespeare and the Bible” piece was that Iago’s “I am not what I am” is a demonic parody of Exod. 3:14, an expression of utter vacuity in contrast to God’s eternal plenitude.


If I’ve erred or muddled, expert Hebraists please clarify.




Associate Professor of English

Editor, Reformation

Co-curator, Manifold Greatness: The Creation and Afterlife of the King James Bible


The Ohio State University

164 West 17th Ave., 421 Denney Hall

Columbus, OH 43210-1340

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