The lights will come on again!


The ByTowne is now closed. But there's good news!

After the pandemic has been brought under control,
new management will take over the space and the ByTowne will re-open.

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Shakespeare 400 - Korol Lir

(King Lear)

Part of Shakespeare 400 On Screen, presented in association with the University of Ottawa

Shakespeare 400Grigori Kozintsev’s last film (he also filmed a Russian Hamlet in 1964) is the crown jewel in the six-decade career of the celebrated Soviet film and theatre director, writer, and theoretician. In Korol Lir, Kozintsev frames his enduring interest in Shakespeare. Amongst austere settings, in the absence of lavish scenery or special effects, the actors in this black-and-white wide-screen masterpiece hold the stage with the captivating power of Boris Pasternak’s translation of the Bard’s play and of the music composed by Dmitri Shostakovich specifically for this film.

Russian poster art for Korol LirJüri Järvet in the titular role may well be the best Lear ever, in his painful transformation from a cantankerous ruler blinded by adulation into a poignant everyman, dwarfed by the uncontrollable forces he has unthinkingly unleashed and learning, the hard way, to be simply human. Oleg Dahl stands out as the Fool: a slender figure of a wise sophisticated man, aristocratic even in the wild jumps he performs to entertain the king, with sad, transparent, haunting eyes, a fragile body, and a closely shaved head.

Korol Lir won major awards at international film festivals in Tehran, Chicago, and Milan. A powerful and stirring piece of art, it is by all means unforgettable.

– Natalia Vesselova, University of Ottawa

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