Shakespeare - the greatest writer of all time? Learn about his life at this showing coming up at Saltdean Cinema. Doors open at 7 pm. The big screen at the end of your street - not to be missed...
All is True
‘Not more Shakespeare!’ The cry went up and down the rows of pupils at school, the same cry repeated by students at college and still by some of us, as another production of Shakespeare’s plays gets airtime. Our early relationship with the works of Shakespeare will either endear him to us or make us vow never to see another play by him.
That rant aside, most people will at some level know about the angst-driven Hamlet, the evil in Macbeth and the violence in Coriolanus. Much as the Beatles lyrics have become part of our DNA, many lines from Shakespeare have become part of our daily vocabulary: “wild goose chase”, pure as the driven snow”, “seen better days”. There’s a website, if you’re interested:
Outside of knowing that he had a connection with Stratford Upon Avon, and that his wife was called Anne, most of my knowledge of Shakespeare, was gained through the TV comedy series ‘Upstart Crow’, and here the genus of ‘All is True’ begins, since both were written by Ben Elton.
Incidentally, the name ‘Upstart Crow’ was given to Shakespeare by Robert Greene, a contemporary of Shakespeare. The meaning of the phrase is “someone who has risen economically or socially but lacks the social skills appropriate for this new position” – clearly not a fan. If titbits of information like this appeal to you, then our October film will fascinate.
‘All is True’ is about Shakespeare, the man, and the last three years of his life – not his works. It is a well-researched and beautifully filmed account of Shakespeare’s life, that was eclipsed by the body of his work. It is also a melancholic story, capturing the darkness of loss.
Shakespeare comes back to Stratford, devastated after the fire that destroyed The Globe theatre. There were no more plays to come. ‘All is True’ is about Shakespeare facing the turmoil created by a troubled past, and the consequences of having neglected his family, pursuing his career in London. Coming to terms with the death of his only son, Hamnet, Shakespeare struggles to mend broken relationships with his wife and daughters. William (Kenneth Branagh) attempts reconnecting and reconciliation with the family, and unravels family secrets that, in turn, contain clues to the last of Shakespeare’s plays.
This is both a witty and authoritative film that captures the period perfectly. Shooting it in Shakespeare’s house, on location at Dorney Court, Buckinghamshire, is masterly; with candlelit rooms lit only by candlelight; without concession to brightening the image for filmic effect.
The film strikes a good balance between scholarly research and entertainment, revealing much about Shakespeare that is masked by the plays.
Kenneth Branagh gives a performance he was born to play; and is ably supported by the big guns of film and theatre. Judi Dench plays Anne and, in THE scene of the film, there is a totally captivating cameo performance by Ian McKellen as the Earl of Southampton.
Final bit of trivia: "All Is True", was taken from the Shakespeare play "Henry VIII", for which it was an early title.
Next month on at Saltdean Cinema: fantasy, lots of familiar tunes, and a chance to test your memory of Beatles lyrics as we screen ‘Yesterday’ – much recommended.