Much Ado About Nothing
In the film “Much Ado about Nothing”, how effectively does the director, Kenneth Branagh, interpret the way Shakespeare establishes the relation ship between Beatrice and Benedick in Act 1 Scene 1? (1,200 words) Kenneth Branagh opens his film “Much Ado about Nothing” by immediately changing and interpreting Shakespeare’s work. The “Sigh No More” poem is moved from the middle to the beginning. This poem was written by William Shakespeare but was never performed in his plays, so not only did Branagh introduce this poem to the play it also becames the theme to the film. The “men are deceivers ever” theme is clearly meant to be introduced straight away and emphasized. Emma Thompson, who plays Beatrice in the film, recites it and the lyrics are written on a black screen so the words and the meaning are emphasized. It is clear for someone who is watching the film for a second time that Beatrice is talking about Benedick and how her heart had been broken but how she should get on with life any way. She recites it in a hurtful, reflective way as well as very slowly, with a lot of pauses so that the audience can familiarize themselves with her voice and recognize it in the film. She then repeats the poem but this time she is with her family in a beautiful Tuscan setting and her tone has completely changed. This time she reads it in a mocking and entertaining way as if she was hiding her feelings for Benedick. When the messenger arrives the camera focuses straight away on Beatrice who is looking concerned and wondering if Benedick is alive or not. But when the messenger confirms, “No men were lost in this action” she makes doubly sure that he’s ok by asking: “I pray you, is signor Mountanto returned from the wars or no?” She uses the word Mountanto in a scornful way. In fact Mountanto is merely a play on words. The actual word is montanto, which is an upright strike in fencing. Metaphorically, Beatrice and Benedick are always fencing with words...
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