Virginia Film Society Continues Spring Season April 8 with Modern Take on 'Hamlet'

March 26, 2009

March 26, 2009 — The Virginia Film Society, the year-round program of the Virginia Film Festival, continues its spring season with a screening of Michael Almereyda's production of "Hamlet."

This film updates the classic revenge drama to present-day New York City, substituting corporation politics for the country of Denmark. The film will be will be screened April 8 at 7 p.m. at Vinegar Hill Theatre, 220 Market St. in Charlottesville.

After the screening, University of Virginia English professor Clare Kinney and Colleen Kelly, a stage combat teacher from the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton who is directing this semester's production of "Two Gentlemen of Verona" for the University of Virginia Drama Department,  will discuss the differences between dramatizing Shakespeare on stage and film. Kelly will also provide a live demonstration of stage fighting techniques. The screening is a co-promotion with the American Shakespeare Center and coincides with the opening of the Spring Season at the Blackfriar's Playhouse in Staunton.

Derek Armstrong of the All Movie Guide wrote of Almereyda's "Hamlet": "This 2000 version is a thoughtful re-imagining of Hamlet in a washed-out New York City run by corporate raiders instead of kings, in which iambic pentameter is spoken over cell phones, and information transferred via fax rather than messenger. What saves this setup from mere gimmick is that it gives viewers a vastly improved understanding of the issues at the heart of the play. As portrayed by Hawke, Hamlet is a shiftless trust fund baby with artsy ambitions, who thinks too much while sitting around his apartment or leaving on world travels that utterly bore him. Rarely is Hamlet's essence distilled in a way so familiar to modern audiences."

Admission is free to Film Society members. Tickets for remaining seats will be available at the box office for $9 each from 30 minutes before the screening.

For information about screenings or Film Society membership, call 434-982-5560 or visit

— By Jane Ford