The film Othello by director Oliver Parker, is based on the Shakespearean tragedy based on the insecurities of one man, being played upon leading to his undoing at the hands of the one he most trusts, ?honest Iago?. In this essay, we look at how this age old play is dealt with by the medium of film, reviewing the director?s ability to provide an effect caused by insight into the play?s mechanization and interpretation of such affected by visual mastery. This analysis focuses mainly on techniques and devices used to achieve this and their effect.
The effectiveness of Parker?s choice of actors and actresses needs to be first questioned. Cognizant of the character Othello's empty un-reflective nature, he filled the void with sex and violence, traits embodied through actor Lawrence Fishburne's stunning visual presence. The idea was to make the erotic relationship between Othello and Desdemona the emotional hinge of the play, and this aspect at least, was handled well by the American actor.
Fishburne's physicality and stilted American speaking of the lines make him the epitome of the alien "other" inherent in the play?s racist nature. The casting for all of the other parts is just as creative, for example Desdemona is not portrayed as the blond-haired embodiment of innocence as has been the norm in traditional productions. Rather she is sensual and dark-haired, played by the actress, Irene Jacob. Although Shakespeare's Othello says "she loved me for the pains I have suffered," this Desdemona, speaking in heavily accented English, rather conveys the full measure of erotic chemistry that can precipitate a sudden elopement.
With this is mind, the audience already witnesses a hint of the contrasting value of the play, mirrored well and in fact improved by the film. The movie begins with the image of Othello...