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King Lear(Король Лир)

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Soviet Union · 1970
Rated PG · 2h 12m
Director Grigori Kozintsev
Starring Jüri Järvet, Galina Volchek, Elza Radzina, Valentina Shendrikova
Genre Drama

King Lear, old and tired, divides his kingdom among his daughters, giving great importance to their protestations of love for him. When Cordelia, youngest and most honest, refuses to idly flatter the old man in return for favor, he banishes her and turns for support to his remaining daughters. But Goneril and Regan have no love for him and instead plot to take all his power from him. In a parallel, Lear's loyal courtier Gloucester favors his illegitimate son Edmund after being told lies about his faithful son Edgar. Madness and tragedy befall both ill-starred fathers.

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Megan Rochlin Profile picture for Megan Rochlin

This is a really unique interpretation of Shakespeare's King Lear. The film opens by panning over a shot of a group of ragged people shuffling towards something unseen. From the opening shot, you know this is going to be a political film. The actor playing Lear does a great job of portraying Lear as fool from start to finish. Speaking of fools, this film has one of the most memorable interpretations of Lear's fool that I have seen. The film is well acted, well shot, and beautifully scored (courtesy of Dmitri Shostakovitch). This cynical - and deeply soviet - interpretation of King Lear is definitely worth a watch.

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