Thursday, February 27, 2020

Huapango: Othello in a Mexican Folk Dance Competition Setting

Huapango. Dir. Ivan Lipkies. Perf. Alejandro Tommasi, Lisset, Manuel Landeta, Goretti Lipkies, Alfredo Castillo, Rafael Romero, Alfredo Sevilla, MarĂ­a Elena Velasco, and Alicia Sandoval. 2004. DVD. Quality Films, n.d.

In my Shakespeare and Film class this semester, I decided to return to Othello. I try always to leave a week free in the syllabus to deal with a play and a film that seems timely or particularly interesting.

This film sets Othello in small-town Mexico among characters who focus their attentions on their skills at Huapango, a kind of Mexican folk dance.  During the National Festival of Huapango, the Iago analogue, jealous at being slighted by the Desdemona analogue, plots his revenge.  One of the most interesting features of this film is its treatment of the Othello analogue, who is injured in a rodeo early in the film and spends the rest of the film recovering in bed.

One other point of interest is where the film sets its conflict. I've talked to a scholar who has written about the film (and about other Shakespeare films from Mexico), and he said that there was not a racial component to the rivalry between the Iago analogue and the Othello analogue. Santiago (our Iago) is of a different social class than Otilio (our Othello), but not of a different ethnicity.

The clip below shows the opening of the film. Watch it to see what other alterations to the Othello narrative the derivative makes.

Note: As always, I am alerting readers / viewers to some unsavory language in the clip below.

I find that to be absolutely fascinating. The Iago analogue isn't motivated because someone else was promoted before he was—much less that he suspects the Othello analogue of sleeping with his wife. He is the person who is initially jealous, and, on the point of declaring his love for (and proposing to) our Desdemona analogue, he feels humiliated and rejected.

Links: The Film at IMDB.

Click here to purchase the film from a place called DVD Planet Store.

Note that I haven't used this vendor before and have no idea how reliable they are, but the DVD isn't available on

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Margaret in The Hollow Crown's Richard III

Richard III. By William Shakespeare. Perf. Benedict Cumberbatch, Ben Daniels, Judi Dench, James Fleet, Phoebe Fox, Keeley Hawes, and Sophie Okonedo. Dir. Thea Sharrock. The Hollow Crown. Season 2, episode 4. BBC Two. 21 May 2016. DVD. Universal Studios, 2016.

Margaret is one of the only characters who appears in—and lives through!—all three Henry VI plays and Richard III. But she's often cut from modern productions of Richard III—I think largely due to time constraints.

The Hollow Crown's version is one exception. And that means that their version can explore in greater detail the curses she utters early in the play and their effects through the play.

Here's a clip that shows those curses—and also the way Margaret serves as a common enemy to the otherwise squabbling royals.

Links: The Film at IMDB.

Click below to purchase the series from
(and to support Bardfilm as you do so).

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.
All material original to this blog is copyrighted: Copyright 2008-2039 (and into perpetuity thereafter) by Keith Jones.

The very instant that I saw you did / My heart fly to your service; there resides, / To make me slave to it; and, for your sake, / Am I this patient [b]log-man.

—The Tempest