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Who really wrote Shakespeare’s plays? In this vivid drama from Roland Emmerich, mystery swirls around the authorship of classic plays, as the back-stabbing theatre world intersects with political intrigue at the court of Elizabeth I.
British | Period Piece | ThrillerPROGRAMMER’S NOTE For decades, scholars and intellectuals have debated a question that haunts the history of English literature: were the works of William Shakespeare written by Shakespeare himself? Theories abound — some credit Shakespeare’s plays to famed contemporaries Francis Bacon and Christopher Marlowe — but the reigning true author among Shakespeare revisionists remains Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford. De Vere’s reputation as a highly skilled poet and playwright, and his close ties to Queen Elizabeth I, place him at the centre of a controversy that has altered the way many view both a literary legacy and the history of the English royal court.
Roland Emmerich’s historical thriller Anonymous takes the question of Shakespearean authorship and weaves it into the story of the Essex Rebellion in the court of Elizabeth I. Emmerich — best known for his disaster blockbusters — sees the story of de Vere as part of the larger scheme of political intrigue, romantic scandal and betrayal that threatened Elizabeth’s reign even in its final years. Recreating seventeenth-century London with the full arsenal of cinematic magic at his disposal, Emmerich crafts a complex historical world against which the most salacious drama of the period plays out.
Emmerich and screenwriter John Orloff take the mysterious circumstances of de Vere’s birth, as well as the rumours surrounding his possible affair with Queen Elizabeth, as the motivation behind the playwright’s place as a political tool in the Essex plot to claim the throne. Rhys Ifans — an indispensible supporting player in so many films — makes a star turn as de Vere, matched by a cast of renowned English actors that includes both Vanessa Redgrave and her daughter Joely Richardson as Queen Elizabeth, David Thewlis as the scheming William Cecil, Rafe Spall as a brash young Shakespeare and Derek Jacobi, who delivers the film’s prologue from a contemporary London theatre.
An ambitious period film from a blockbuster director, Anonymous takes audiences back to a time when the London stage was a political battlefield on which dramas greater than the plays themselves were acted out by some of the most powerful figures in English history. SCREENING TIMES Sunday September 11 Visa Screening Room (Elgin) 9:00pm Monday September 12 Winter Garden Theatre 4:30pm Saturday September 17 Scotiabank Theatre 2 11:45am Principal Cast:Rhys Ifans, Vanessa Redgrave, Joely Richardson, David Thewils, Xavier Samuel, Sebastian Armesto, Rafe Spall
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