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Shakespeare in its richest film translation

Filmmaker Matias Piñeiro takes a modern approach to the Bard’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream

by Sabrina D. Marques


Hermia e Helena

Matias’ Pinheiro’s most recent feature is one of those rare new films that actually understands what it means to be new. Despite this being his fourth adaptation of the playwright whose works have been so widely adapted, his integration of Shakespeare’s text is excitingly innovative, and is an exponential step ahead of his previous endeavors.

We are in the streets of New York, a hand-held camera follows a woman as she hurries along. The young protagonist is struggling with a translation of an excerpt of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and the whimsical quality of the text runs through the film. Storylines overlap in several ways, from text over an image to the reflection of tiles in a window. This abundance of visual information creates an augmented reality.

As the film divides its settings between the United States and Argentina, we see the struggle between English and Spanish on the Shakespearian translator’s task. But these open letters and pages create a false sense of closeness. While we see the characters making notes, writing, and discussing, we don’t know what drives them.

Between storylines within storylines the path of these lost characters is uncharted. Like a blank page, their future is wide open in a maze of possibilities as they approach adulthood. Nurturing the practice of drifting as part of the research process, the main character exists somewhere between the epics of real life and those of literature. She suddenly invites her filmmaker boyfriend to create a love story with her. After all, isn’t love a fiction created by two people? Piñeiro’s real creativity undermines the classic play and gives a kick in the mouth to any nostalgic pessimists who might predict the death of film.



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