The Hollow Crown: Henry IV (Parts I and II)

This is already old news (with Olympics and all) but I still wanted to mention that BBC’s installment of Henry IV (Part I and Part II) was excellent. Watched as one long story, it makes for a great long enjoyable experience.

Part I and Part II do not exactly fit, I think, into one seamless narrative and they were probably not performed one after another, or so the scholars are telling me. The entire story is that of Harry becoming a king, a legitimate kind (unlike his father, or so the suspicion goes). Part II has two parallel stories developing – Harry and Falstaff. If in Part I they are bosom buddies and this fact greatly annoys the king, in Part II they are still very friendly, even if the end is near. I thought that the scene where Harry and Poins play yet another trick on Falstaff and overhear him making derogatory remarks about themselves and confront him was well done, but very much overemphasized the future break between the main characters. The purpose of the trick is once again to put Falstaff into an awkward position and watch him lie his way out (as in Part I robbery scene). The BBC version here makes it look like this is the reason Harry is going to break with Falstaff which isn’t so. Continue reading

The Hollow Crown (BBC, 2012): Richard II

BBC undertook to create four long film versions of Shakespeare’s “history plays” – Richard II, Henry IV (Part 1 and Part 2) and Henry V. The cast for each play is impressive, and judging by Richard II that already aired, they are all at the top of their game (even if it is  odd to see David Suchet aka Poirot play Duke of York and Patrick Stewart aka dude from Startrek play John of Gaunt).

Richard II was very good, I thought. It was slow and thoughtful, not overwhelming with narrative detail and sudden changes of characters that often confuses the viewer like myself (and looking up who is who in the play is too bothersome). It does however paint a rather strange picture of Richard II who in Shakespeare’s play, I think, it’s not a very likable character.  In this interpretation he comes across as a Jesus figure (which is either an attempt to redeem Richard II and every oppressive king or an attempt to portray Jesus as a kind of king who is unlike any other king etc etc ). Richard II does not care for either his supporters among the noble nor his people – he robs both in order to pursue his wars in Ireland. And yet when Bolingbrook takes over, makes him give up the crown and eventually causes his death (not directly but certainly not without some indirect encouragement), Richard is suddenly a martyr. A martyr for what?  Continue reading

Zizek on Hardtalk

It’s here for 7 days, but you have to be in a certain area to watch it online. I’m sure there’s a YouTube video somewhere out there. Whoever the guy interviewing Zizek is kind of annoyingly interruptive, but Zizek needs that sort of person, otherwise he will talk forever.

I mean the interviewer’s obvious bias is quite clear – “you call yourself a Communist, but Communism sucks!” – plus in the end he ends up talking too much (at least for a Zizek-type encounter), so it’s kind of stupid, but it’s a Zizek-sighting so I must post about it.

It Depends On Interpretation: Iraq Pact

This story and this topic has been slowly getting traction in the media, it seems, or I am just now catching up with it. Of course, knowing little or nothing about international diplomacy or international law, I have little to say about it, however, this particular article was pretty interesting – McLatchy reports:

WASHINGTON — The Bush administration has adopted a much looser interpretation than the Iraqi government of several key provisions of the pending U.S.-Iraq security agreement, U.S. officials said Tuesday — just hours before the Iraqi parliament was to hold its historic vote.

These include a provision that bans the launch of attacks on other countries from Iraq, a requirement to notify the Iraqis in advance of U.S. military operations and the question of Iraqi legal jurisdiction over American troops and military contractors.

Officials in Washington said the administration has withheld the official English translation of the agreement in an effort to suppress a public dispute with the Iraqis until after the Iraqi parliament votes. Continue reading

On A Lighter Note: I’m Alan Partridge

Fans of  the BBC’s I’m Alan Partridge (old news to everyone in the UK I know) will appreciate this comment from the latest issue of the New Yorker (a fine publication, in fact, one thing that all 4 members here at Perverse Egalitarianism agree upon) which includes a nice profile of Steve Coogan:

Recently, Coogan pitched the idea of a movie in which Partridge is held hostage at the BBC after a terrorist takeover and tries to work out a peace settlement. “Your position is you want to destroy the West,” Coogan said, launching into Patridge’s imaginary negotiation. “The West’s position is, broadly speaking, they don’t want to be destroyed. Is there a midway between those two positions that could satisfy us both? Rather than suicide bombings, you achieve so much more with a sternly worded letter.”