(Orson Welles, US/Italy/Morocco/France 1952, 91 min., 35mm)
"Not of an age, but for all time." As per Shakespeare’s play, the Othello and beautiful Desdemona hold secret nuptials in Venice. Standing at the back of the ceremony are the jealous Rodrigo and vile Iago, determined to tear apart the newlyweds’ bliss by manipulating their entourage. One of Welles’s most complicated shoots due to financial limitations, Othello was filmed erratically over three years in a variety of outdoor locations. Those conditions imposed a distinctive chiaroscuro look on the film and forced Welles to be creative in his treatment of visual continuity; narrow pan shots, high- and low-angle shots, and close shots were favored to avoid significant visual fragmentation. Ultimately conferring an oppressive close-to-madness atmosphere, this idiosyncratic aesthetic unexpectedly became—and remains today—the driving visual force of the film.
“Othello is indeed one of Welles’ most personal works. . . . It is the deepest poetically and the richest visually. . . . What we see in his film is a bloody, dark, gloomy, passionate, tender, hostile, poetic, and truly tragic story about men who are bigger than life.” – Peter Bogdanovich
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