Timon’s Friendship Adventure
As regular readers will know, here at The Bioscope we try to keep up with current trends in silent filmmaking, while those who know me may know that I have an interest in that engagingly oddest of genres, the silent Shakespeare film. But who would have suspected that the two interests might come together, and that Timon of Athens would be its subject?
And so I offer you Timon’s Friendship Adventure, which is a modern silent (in modern dress) based on William Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens. It’s few people’s favourite Shakespeare play, and one of his least filmed (let alone performed), but writer Michael Weinreich, producer Lisa Shapiro and director Max Littman have created this oddity, shot in black-and-white, silent, with intertitles, and a familiar-style piano accompaniment (until, unfortunately, electric guitar and drums kick in halfway through). Jason Davids Scott plays Timon.
There’s website dedicated to the film, which was made in 2007, and has been doing the round of festivals. Timon is one of Shakespeare’s more misanthropic characters, but though in the play he holds a feast for friends who turn out to be false friends when he is in need, he doesn’t slaughter everyone, as happens here. The inspiration seems more Titus Andronicus than Timon of Athens. Anyway, it deserves notice for being different, and for showing that the honourable art of compressing Shakespeare into five minutes (and squeezing out his words while you’re at it) is not lost.