Filmweb
 
 

Othello


OM FILMEN:
Othello er en filmversjon av William Shakespeares tragedie fra 1604 om generalen Othello som har forbigått sin mangeårige kampfelle Iago ved ansettelse av ny nestkommanderende. Dramaets handling dreier seg om Iagos hevn og dens konsekvenser. Othello settes ofte opp på teateret, og har også vært filmatisert tre ganger tidligere: 1952 (av Orson Welles), 1955 (av Sergei Yutkevitch) og 1965 (filmatisert sceneversjon, Lawrence Olivier/Stuart Burge). Både Rossini og Verdi har laget operaversjoner, hvorav Verdis ble film i 1986 (regi Franco Zeffirelli).
Denne filmatiseringen av Othello bruker Shakespeares originaltekst, men i følge produksjonsopplysningene har regissøren Oliver Parker strøket nesten halvparten av teksten. Det virker ikke slik! Det som er strøket, blir i hovedsak likevel fortalt oss, men i filmens formspråk.
Parker sier at han ønsker å gi en versjon av Othello som fokuserer på personen Othello, ikke på Iago som så ofte ellers. Det er ikke Iagos manipulering/ondskap som er det sentrale tragiske element, men kjærlighet, romantikk og begjær: "Det er begjæret som er stykkets drivende kraft, som motiverer alle hovedpersonenes handlinger."
Othello er et spennende drama i seg selv. Med filmens virkemidler blir det faktisk enda mer thrillerpreg over handlingen, selv for de som "vet hvordan det går".

BRUK
Siden filmen er spennende rent handlingsmessig, kan det være et spørsmål hvor mye tekst man skal lese på forhånd eller hvor mye man skal røpe av handlingen. Erfaring fra arbeid med liknende filmer viser likevel at elevene føler de får mer ut av hele læringssituasjonen hvis de gjør både for- og etter-arbeid. I dette opplegget foreslår vi at det leses en del tekst på forhånd for å skjerpe oppmerksomheten og lede observasjonen, men uten at hele handlingen dermed røpes.

En måte å bruke denne filmen på er å la den gå inn i et større Shakespeare-opplegg der man

  • ser flere filmer
  • leser sentrale utdrag fra flere dramaer (gjerne de samme som man ser)
  • leser noen berømte sonetter
  • bruker andre kilder til kunnskap om forfatter og epoke

    Dette har vært prøvd med stor suksess. Eleven får lest en del sentrale tekster, får med seg dannelsen og gleden, men uten å måtte streve seg gjennom et helt skuespill, - som jo slett ikke ble skrevet for å leses!
    Polanskis Macbeth, Zeffirellis Romeo and Juliet og Hamlet (med Mel Gibson!) er sikre vinnere, men siden filmer forsvinner ut av distribusjon, må man ofte ta det man kan få og legge opp pensum deretter. Kenneth Branaghs neste film er visstnok en ny Hamlet-versjon.Av tekstutdrag foreslås Macbeths første mord, balkongscenen fra Romeo og Juliet, og Hamlets monolog "To be or not to be".

    Det følgende forslag til spørsmål og oppgaver er på engelsk slik at de lettere kan brukes direkte i klasserommet

    BEFORE YOU WATCH OTHELLO:
    1:What was the Renaissance really about? Use your history books and other sources to find out about the shift of focus in art from God to Man. What was "the Great Chain of being"?
    2:Try to get a general overview of the political situation in England around the year 1600.
    3:Make sure you understand words like thou, thee, thy, art doth, dost, wouldst, 'tis, 'twill, methinks, etc.
    Othello is referred to as the Moor. What is that? He is often played by a black man since there are hints in the text that he must really be just that (his "sooted bosom", "thick lipped", "the black ram"). It is in fact possible that Shakespeare was a bit mixed up on this point.
    4:Read Act 3 Scene 3 from line 91 ("Exellent wretch! Perdition catch my soul") to line 245 ("Sees and knows more, much more, than he unfolds", where Iago is trying to plant the idea in his superior, Othello, that his wife Desdemona is unfaithful to him. When you watch the film you will get to know why he does so and why it is Cassio he tries to frame. What do you learn in this scene about Othello's love for Desdemona?
    Do you think Iago is clever in his attempt to turn Othello's mind? What techniques does he use?
    5:If you like doing little dramatizations, try transplanting this scene to today. Play two young boys where one is trying to turn the other against his girlfriend by telling lies about her. What do you get, -"Beverly Hills"?
    6:Othello is about love and desire and power and jealousy. Read the excerpt (Act 4 Scene 3) where Desdemona and Emilia (Desdemona's servant and Iago's wife) are discussing what love means. At this point in the action Othello is extremely jealous. Part of the purpose of this scene is to show us how terribly wrong he is.
    What are these two women's different views of "1 love"? What are they willing to do or not to do, - for instance sleep with someone other than their husband -, and at what price? Do you agree with any of the two? Or: Who wins the discussion?

    AFTER HAVING SEEN THE FILM:
    1:Make sure you are aware in detail of what really happens. What happened to the various characters in the end? Who did what and why during the play? If necessary: retell the story in your own words. Help each other. If you disagree on anything you must check the text itself.
    2:It is often said that the central element in a real tragedy, in fact what is really tragic, more so than the terrible ending, is the tragic flaw, a weakness, in the main character. Macbeth is too power-hungry, Hamlet is too indecisive, King Lear is naive and gullible, for instance. In classical tragedy tradition this is called hamartia. If Othello is the main character of Othello, what do you think is his tragic flaw that makes it possible for Iago to fool him, so that everything goes so terribly wrong? Can it be that he loves too little, or does he love too much? Or is he dumber than most people?
    Both Iago and Othello are jealous. Is jealousy an inherent, unavoidable characteristic of man?
    3:Othello is sometimes played as if Iago is the main character and not Othello. What do you think? What reasons do you see for making Iago or Othello the protagonist (other than the title of the play)?
    4:Iago is often called "honest Iago". Who use this expression and why? It seems like irony, but is it really intended by those who say it to be that, i.e. do they know that he is dishonest? What does this tell us about his reputation?

    ADDITIONAL WORK:
    1:Find out what happened to the theatre in the transition from the middle ages to Elizabethan England?

    Key words:
    - morality/miracle/mystery plays
    - marketplace jugglers
    - theatre companies
    - theatre buildings
    - who were the audience?
    - money/financing
    - the closing down of theatres

    2:Before Shakespeare wrote this tragedy, the Italian Giraldi had written a short story about Othello. Find out more about this. Did Shakespeare use other texts as his starting point more than this once?
    3:Shakespeare wrote history plays and comedies in addition to tragedies. Do you know any of these? Find out more.
    4:What are the main differences between staging a play and making a film of it?
    5:Do you recognize the basic pattern of this tragedy, or other plays you have read or seen, in today's masscommunicated stories, e.g. in the lyrics of popular songs or in Hollywood movies?


 

Filmstudieark

Forfatter:Randi Fiksdal
Klassetrinn: [Videregående]
Fag: Engelsk , Norsk
Tema:Litteratur på film
 

Fakta

Forfatter:Randi Fiksdal
 
 
 
 
 
Film & Kino Filmens Hus, Dronningens gate 16, Postboks 446 Sentrum, 0104 Oslo. Tlf: 22 47 45 00 / Faks: 22 47 46 99.