11 June 2009
Iago, up close and personal.
Converting a Shakespearean play to a movie is no easy task; however, Oliver Parker embarked himself in an adventure which won him three awards. Laurence Fishburne was nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor and Kenneth Branagh for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role. The movie Othello (1995) also won an award for Outstanding Motion Picture. Without a doubt, the motion picture turned the traditional theatrical play into a real romantic drama. Parker navigates among various cinematographic devices allowing the viewer to be an involved witness in the tragic love story of Othello and Desdemona. It is through the actors' performance that the director succeeds in communicating intense verbal and non-verbal emotions with the spectators. With this in mind, Parker chose wittingly the famous Branagh to be the propeller of the tragic movie. He plays the role of Iago, the evil negotiator whose demeanour fools everyone. Parker accords much importance to this manipulative character and makes everything revolve around the unreliable Iago. The dominance/submission aspect between Iago and the other performers is clearly identified in Parker's directional choices.
The mystery, secrecy and betrayal features are present throughout the movie from beginning to end. The first scene is set on a dark night where a white woman and a black man are resting in a gondola on Venetian waters. As the gondola approaches the camera, the dark man elevates a white masque to hide his face. Does this superimposition of colour imply white dominance over black? Perhaps! In addition, the spectator thinks that Othello and Desdemona are travelling in the gondola; however, it is only at a second glance that the viewer is able to realize that he/she has been fooled. Parker sets a mysterious atmosphere from the...