The Merchant of Venice (Sous-titres français)
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THE CLASSIC TALE FROM WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE OF 16TH CENTURY MORALITY, REVENGE, REDEMPTION & LOVE SET IN THE THE LAVISH ERAOF 16TH CENTURY VENICE FOLLOWS THE INTERLOCKING LIVES OF ACAPTIVATING ASSORTMENT OF CLASSIC SHAKESPEAREAN CHARACTERS.
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The superstitious and evil anti-Semitic practices of the place and era are shown as well as Antonio’s part in the conspiracy to whisk away Shylock’s daughter and stolen property. This background information gave a realistic build up to Shylock’s agitated mental state and makes the audience understand when he later goes after his just and rightful pound of flesh with such vengeance. Al Pacino steals the show with his wonderful performance. When I first read the play in High School I thought the character cared more for his money than his daughter – but this performance by Pacino gives a much more believable view of the character’s relationship with his daughter, Jessica.
Shakespeare, is years ahead of his time, his great humanitarianism shines through in this play – women educating themselves and saving the day with their bravery and intellect, a black suitor received with warmth and humor during a time of slavery and racism, and a Jewish man shown as a person with feelings and self worth in a time when Jews were considered sub-human ‘dogs’ by the Christian majority.
Although a negative view of Christianity is depicted in the opening scene where Franciscan monks are shown using the actual words of Paul from the Bible and Martin Luther to bring to trial by drowning (if guilty) a Jewish man being charged with money lending as he is thrown into the Grande Canal.Read more ›
However, the misconstrued screenplay greatly reduces the movie’s appeal. Strangely, Shylock is « humanized » and depicted in a ridiculously positive fashion, for instance attending the synagogue. There had been no Jews in England for centuries when the play was written and Shylock was obviously conceived as a stereotypical villain. The notion of political correctness simply did not exist in 16th century England!
This bias in the screenplay makes it incoherent. The text at the beginning of the movie describes the plight of Venetian Jews who are locked in the walled Ghetto after sunset. Yet, minutes later, an evening scene is presented with Shylock visiting Antonio … certainly outside the Ghetto. Also, the notion of cultural sensitivity does not extend to the African, French, German and Spanish suitors to Portia who are mercilessly portrayed as foolish buffoons.
The acting is marred first by the presence of both American and British accents. Worse, acting direction is poor with Lynn Collins (Portia) in a light farcical mode, Jeremy Irons (Antonio) in a dark and tragic mode and poorly coiffed and shaved Joseph Fiennes (Bassanio) in an absentee mode.
Overall, the movie may be recommended essentially for its illustration of northern Italy.
This is an immensely complicated story that leaves you with much food for thought. Al Pacino is incredible as Shylock, imbuing his character with power and vehemence that comes off the screen in waves. I find myself quite torn in my appraisal of Shylock; he is both victim and devil, and Pacino captures his dual nature to outstanding effect. As a Jew living in 16th century Venice, Shylock (like all of his people) was cruelly treated and persecuted for his race and faith.Read more ›
This is a great CD with Al Pacino & Jeremy Irons, and a great performance - it gives one much food for thought. It is a very thought provoking movie, & gets you thinking about intolerance & racism. . I recommend it highly.
Most recent customer reviews
I cannot listen to the 92q0534986 darn thing on my tv and DVD player here in Québec Canada: a total loss MLPublished 2 months ago by michel laverdiere
This movie gives the background to "The Merchant of Venice". One has to understand the Background for the play, otherwise some of the Dialogue seems confusing. Read morePublished on Dec 7 2013 by Roller
This is one of the great works of a great writer. There is so much to learn from this story it inspired me to write a blog ([...] about it and courtroom dramas. Read morePublished on Aug. 5 2013 by Stephen Gaspar
Before viewing this movie, I never thought that Pacino would be able to do justice to the character of Shylock; however though I've seen many Shylocks, both in film and on... Read morePublished on March 22 2013 by Ms Mouse
I teach Shakespeare in my class and plan to use this movie, as it will be an excellent addition to my Shakespeare units.Published on Dec 26 2012 by Bobbi