Localizing a Global Myth: Contemporary Film Adaptations of King Lear

  • Kinga Földváry
Part of the Reproducing Shakespeare book series (RESH)


Examining five recent film adaptations of Shakespeare’s King Lear, the chapter looks at the ways in which the ancient myth of division and disruption is manifested in contemporary cinema, arguing that these films tend to offer specifically localized conflicts behind the conflicts and divisions they represent. My Kingdom (dir. Don Boyd, 2001); The King Is Alive (dir. Kristian Levring, 2000); The Last Lear (dir. Rituparno Ghosh, 2007); A Bunch of Amateurs (dir. Andy Cadiff, 2008); and Life Goes On (dir. Sangeeta Datta, 2009) set the well-known story in very specific contemporary locations, but they also represent the mythic power of the Shakespearean text and performance to act as a catalyst to destroy old lies and to heal all wounds.


  1. A Bunch of Amateurs. 2008. Directed by Andy Cadiff. EiV, 2009. DVDGoogle Scholar
  2. Burnett, Mark Thornton. 2007. The Local and the Global. In Filming Shakespeare in the Global Marketplace, Palgrave Shakespeare Studies, 47–65. Houndmills/New York: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Coriolanus. 2011. Directed by Ralph Fiennes. Lionsgate Home Entertainment, 2012. DVD.Google Scholar
  4. Dawson, Anthony B. 2002. International Shakespeare. In The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare on Stage, ed. Stanley Wells and Sarah Stanton, 174–193. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Kennedy, Dennis. 1993. Introduction: Shakespeare Without His Language. In Foreign Shakespeare: Contemporary Performance, ed. Dennis Kennedy, 1–18. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Lanier, Douglas. 2002. Shakespeare and Modern Popular Culture. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Lehmann, Courtney. 2006. The Postnostalgic Renaissance: The ‘Place’ of Liverpool in Don Boyd’s My Kingdom. In Screening Shakespeare in the Twenty-First Century, ed. Mark Thornton Burnett and Ramona Wray, 72–89. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Life Goes On. 2009. Directed by Sangeeta Datta. Databazaar Media Ventures, 2012. DVD.Google Scholar
  9. Much Ado About Nothing. 2012. Directed by Joss Whedon. Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment, 2013. DVD.Google Scholar
  10. My Kingdom. 2001. Directed by Don Boyd. Tartan Video, 2003. DVD.Google Scholar
  11. Shakespeare, William. 1994. A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Arden Shakespeare 2nd Series. Ed. Harold F. Brooks. London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  12. ———. 2005. King Lear, Arden Shakespeare 3rd Series. Ed. R.A. Foakes. London: Thomson Learning.Google Scholar
  13. Shakespeare Wallah. 1965. Directed by James Ivory. Dolmen Home Video, 2004. DVD.Google Scholar
  14. The King Is Alive. 2000. Directed by Kristian Levring. MGM, 2002. DVD.Google Scholar
  15. The Last Lear. 2007. Directed by Rituparno Ghosh. Planman Motion Pictures, 2010. DVD.Google Scholar
  16. Walker, Alexander. 2001. Review of The King Is Alive. London Evening Standard, May 10.
  17. Yong, Li Lan. 2005. Shakespeare and the Fiction of the Intercultural. In A Companion to Shakespeare and Performance, ed. Barbara Hodgdon and W.B. Worthen, 527–549. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  18. Young, Robert J.C. 2003. Postcolonialism: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kinga Földváry
    • 1
  1. 1.Pázmány Péter Catholic UniversityBudapestHungary

Personalised recommendations