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05.jul.2018 | 05.jul.2018

THE MERCHANT OF VENICE w AL PACINO


Venice of the past is a mythic place, of ceremony and costume, of great wealth and war,  of priests and Doges, its wonders captured and inscribed by the writers, poets and painters of each era. When you visit, you should remember that the buildings you see around you here have stood witness to the shifting looks of Venice and Venetians, as well as playing host to you right now! In this play, the great William Shakespeare uses Venice a most dramatic stage, creating a complex plot revolving around characters contemporary to his time. This epic adaptation released in 2004, stays very true to the feel and colour of the moment, with each frame rendered like a painting; we truly feel the Venice of the 1600s come alive – alight only with candle and taper flame, each fruit and flower seems like a still-life. Even the sounds match the stillness of a time before motors; at night, only the slick dip of the gondola oar into the black water is heard.

Shakespeare’s  tale is as famous as it is dramatic – the Merchant Antonio confidently accepts a bargain with the money-lender Shylock to help the suit of his friend, Bassanio, who is in love with the beautiful and wise heiress Portia. However, when Antonio’s ship is dashed upon treacherous rocks, the deal is broken and a terrible price is asked o be paid. The lead character of Antonio  – the titular Merchant of Venice – is played by British actor Jeremy Irons, with the  money-lender Shylock played by the American Al Pacino, and the young romancer Bassanio is Joseph Fiennes, well versed in the era as he had already played the Bard himself in Shakepeare in Love of 1998. While they were immersed in the Venice of the past each day, during the shooting the whole film team were guests of Bauer Hotels, where modernity and luxury are on hand at every corner.  So as you watch this excerpt,  imagine these great actors Pacino, Irons, and Fiennes as well as the film’s makers striding through these halls just as they do those of the painstakingly recreated Venetian settings of the film.

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