Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Julius Caesar in (Naturally Enough) The Emperor's Club

The Emperor's Club. Dir. Michael Hoffman. Perf. Kevin Kline and Emile Hirsch. 2002. DVD. Universal Studios, 2003.

The school year is beginning again, and all the books and articles I've read and all the films I've seen have created a tremendous backlog.

One film that falls generally into the category of "teacher attempts to use Shakespeare to reach troubled students" is The Emperor's Club.  Despite Kevin Kline's masterful performance, the film fell somewhat flat. The clip below has subtitles, which indicates that I watched it at three times the speed—and it seemed a little long at that.

Nonetheless, there's an interesting exchange related to Julius Caesar in the film. I've excerpted an obscenity in the middle of this exchange, but it's a student's attempt to critique Brutus' role in the assassination of Caesar—not in arguing that he ought not to have participated but in claiming that he didn't go far enough. It's an argument that the text itself invites us to contemplate, and this student, however disinterested in Shakespeare, has hit on a good question.  Observe:

video

Links: The Film at IMDB.


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Bardfilm is normally written as one word, though it can also be found under a search for "Bard Film Blog." Bardfilm is a Shakespeare blog (admittedly, one of many Shakespeare blogs), and it is dedicated to commentary on films (Shakespeare movies, The Shakespeare Movie, Shakespeare on television, Shakespeare at the cinema), plays, and other matter related to Shakespeare (allusions to Shakespeare in pop culture, quotes from Shakespeare in popular culture, quotations that come from Shakespeare, et cetera).

Unless otherwise indicated, quotations from Shakespeare's works are from the following edition:
Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
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