King Lear

Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Year Released: 1987
Rating: 1.5

Godard's "free adaptation" of the Bard's King Lear looks, as one might expect, nothing like Lear: it begins with Norman Mailer (?) discussing how the only way to 'do Lear' is as a mob story ... and then "Don Learo" (Burgess Meredith) appears with his daughter Cordelia (Molly Ringwald!?) ... and supposedly there's been a world-wide catastrophe in which the Chernobyl disaster has taken out the world's art (!?) which is up to William Shakespeare Junior the Fifth (Peter Sellars) to restore.  It's your typical JLG mid-period film, with him noodling around with language and imagery with plenty of digressions and parts recited from other writers (like Bresson and Woolf) - it's a meditation on so many things it ends up being 'much ado about no thing.'  Godard said he never read past page three of the actual text, and it shows.  For most viewers, the back story of how this was made - the one million dollar contract on the napkin, the arguments with Mailer, Woody Allen's tiny role (and confusion over what was happening) - is more interesting than the 'finished product.'