Othello (Brilliant Corners 004)

Orson Welles’s magnificent, avant-garde, defiantly independent take on the Moor of Venice. New DCP.

NR, 93 minutes

In 1948, Orson Welles (Citizen Kane, Touch of Evil) set out to adapt Shakespeare’s Othello – the tragic tale of jealousy and betrayal in the royal courts of Venice. The film’s shoot was fraught with pitfalls, including bankruptcy and unforeseen cast changes, which lead Welles to suspend filming several times. The bullheaded director persisted, however, and the result of his efforts is an astounding and breathtakingly beautiful adaptation.* Assisted by renowned production designer Alexandre Trauner, Welles glorifies each shot of his OTHELLO with clever contrasts between shadow and light, earning a well-deserved Palme d’Or in Cannes in 1952. We’re pleased to present this legendary film in a brand new digital restoration!

★★★★★ “Welles’s Othello is one of the few Shakespeare films in which the images on the screen generate enough beauty, variety, and graphic power to stand comparison with Shakespeare’s poetic images.” -Jack J. Jorgens’s, Shakespeare on Film

“Shakespeare is subjected not to a decorous homage but to an enraptured wrestle. There is no excuse not to see it.” – Anthony Lane, New Yorker

★★★★★ “Welles’s blood, sweat and tears are fully evident in each frame… A Shakespeare movie that lives and breathes like few others.” – Keith Uhlich, Time Out New York

*Renowned film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum writes, “In retrospect, I think I can see now what made Welles’s first unambiguously independent film an act of even more courage and defiance than Citizen Kane. In Kane he was bucking only Hollywood and Hearst; with Othello he was defying both Hollywood and academicians — not to mention the whole institutional setup for picture making itself … Properly speaking, he had entered the treacherous domain of the avant-garde — probably against his own conscious wishes — and a substantial portion of the American intelligentsia never forgave him for it. From then on he would make features only with the support of European producers (with the exception of Touch of Evil)–and not very many of those. Then he died, and folks like the Chrysler people came along to explain how much we’d loved, appreciated, and sustained him all along.”

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