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King Lear (1987) - movie overview

King Lear (1987)

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Plot Description

Release Date
Jan 22, 1988 (USA)
DVD Release Date
• R2: 24 May 2004

Running Time
1 hour, 30 minutes

Country USA

Production Companies
Cannon Films

Studio Cannon Group

More info on

Other Titles
• King Lear (1987)

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Genre: Sci-Fi, Post-Apocalypse, Tragedy, Surreal, Experimental, Betrayal, Deception

Tagline: Fear and Loathing. A Study. An Approach. A Clearing. No Thing

Plot: Jean-Luc Godard's adaptation of Shakespeare's tragedy shows the director at his most irreverent and esoteric. Rather than present the play in a traditional manner, Godard instead thrusts a series of characters into a French seaside hotel and lets them run with their own random thoughts and ideas. The actors include Norman Mailer playing himself, Molly Ringwald as Cordelia, Woody Allen as a confused director, and Godard portraying an off-the-wall professor. The film meanders throughout, offering endless monologues, plastic dinosaurs, famous paintings, and an array odd subjects who struggle with the father-daughter conflict of the classic play. Thrown into the mix is Godard's now-standard use of jarring inter-titles, including the film's striking opening credit: "A picture shot in the back." What all of this means is up to the individual viewer to decide, which may, in fact, be Godard's point. By distorting and blurring Shakespeare's original text, he has crafted a mysterious statement about art's ability to mirror and alter reality. Pulling together a cast of noteworthy faces, including Allen, Mailer, Julie Delpy, and bad-boy director Leos Carax (LOVERS UNDER THE BRIDGE, POLA X), Godard adds another challenging film to his extensive resume.

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 Directed by
Jean-Luc Godard
Alphaville, a Strange Adventure of Lemmy Caution, Pierrot Goes Wild, Week End
 Written by
Richard Debuisne
Détective, C'est le bouquet!, Cause toujours!
Jean-Luc Godard
Breathless, Breathless, Contempt
Norman Mailer
The Executioner's Song, The Naked and the Dead, Master Spy: The Robert Hanssen Story
Peter Sellars
Happy New Year, Wonders Are Many, Betty Freeman: A Life for the Unknown
William Shakespeare
Romeo + Juliet, Much Ado About Nothing, Hamlet
Woody Allen
Annie Hall, Antz, Manhattan
Julie Delpy
Before Sunset, Broken Flowers, Before Sunrise
Molly Ringwald
The Breakfast Club, Not Another Teen Movie, Sixteen Candles
Freddy Buache
Fantôme d'Henri Langlois, Le, Citizen Langlois
Leos Carax
Mister Lonely, Process, Lovers on the Ninth Bridge
Jean-Luc Godard
Breathless, Contempt, Band of Outsiders
Suzanne Lanza
The Night We Never Met, Venice/Venice, The Webbers
 Music By

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