KING LEAR AND CINEMATIC APPROPRIATION: KOZINTSEV'S KOROL LEAR AND KUROSAWA'S RAN
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In an early modem stage production of Shakespeare's King Lear, the thematic continuity of the play was carried by language.With the advent of technology, however, there are numerous film adaptations of Shakespeare's plays in which the thematic continuity is carried by visual imagery. Grigori Kozintsev's Korol Ler (1971)and Akira Kurosawa's Ran (1984) each reproduce the story of King Lear. The first chapter establishes a framework for studying dramatic representations of madness by examining aspects of Shakespeare's play: the first scene of the play in which Lear subjects his daughters to an unreasonable test that serves as a starting point for his descent into insanity, the storm as a symbol of his loss and recovery, and the role of the Fool as a counterpoint to Lear's mental state. The second chapter examines how Kozintsev's film version of King Lear, working with a translation by Boris Pasternak,uses Lear's descent into madness to demonstrate how abuse and contempt of power can be used to show sympathy for humankind. Kurosawa's screen portrayal of King Lear appropriates the story of Lear and his daughters and places the Lear-figure, Hidetora,and his three sons in Japanese Samurai culture; the third chapter examines how Hidetora's descent into madness is represented by the wind and rain of the storm and demonstrates the wretchedness and pessimism of humanity,as well a show Hidetora's Fool, Kyoami,endures his master's hardships and acts as a counterpoint to his mental state. Each chapter evaluates the uniqueness of a work of art, whether play text or film,as it is defined by the cultural, social,and historical factors implicit in its creation.