Sarah Hatchuel. Blurring Boundaries: Towards Cinematic Equivalents to Shakespeare's Meta-Theatre

It is well known that the Elizabethan stage displays its own mechanics of illusion-making through meta-theatrical devices. Audiences are called out during monologues or asides. Mises-en-abyme which can take the form of plays within plays add a second level of dramatic action, while a Chorus, a Prologue or an Epilogue can alienate the spectators from the action. Meta-theatrical discourse constantly blurs the frontier between reality and fiction, and reveals the very mechanisms of theatrical production. Even though the medium of cinema tends to tell realistic fictions through its very nature and aesthetic, Shakespearean adaptations on screen have tried to reproduce the meta-dramatic discourse of the original plays. They use commen-tative and reflexive constructions such as voice over, gazes or speeches addressed to the camera, films within the film or flashbacks. Yet, this paper shall argue that, whatever film directors may do, the very nature of the cinematic experience forbids any radical exposure of illusion: enunciation generally dissolves into narration. This paper will reveal a dialectic which would govern film illusion and which involves not only the aesthetic of cinema but also the spectator's own perception of movies.

Theatre seems naturally inclined to establish a distance between the audience and the play. Illusion is difficult to create because of the actual presence of the players on stage. This presence in the flesh requires a strong and active will from the spectator in order to abstract the actors and to institute the illusion of a fiction. The characters are more objects of opposition than objects of identification. According to Christian Metz, in his 1978 book, Essais sur la signification au cinéma (vol. I), Stage fictions only give a weak impression of reality because theatre is much too real1. As the actors are present in the same time and space as the spectators, exhibitionism is necessarily coupled with voyeurism. The actors give their consent to be observed and the spectator can be seen by the actors. To mark the distance between real people in the same space, theatre has resorted to conventions. Characters belong to codified types and each object is at the same time signified and signifier, which means it can represent different things during the performance of the play2. For example, a seat can be used as a mere chair in one scene, then become a throne in another, connoting power and monarchy. The signification of the object can go beyond a utilitarian function. This is much less frequent in the cinema where the construction of a realistic world imposes on the object a definite and unchanging function.

Contrary to the theatre, cinema presents the natural tendency to tell stories and hide the marks of enunciation. According to Metz, in his 1981 book, Essais sur la signification au cinéma (vol. II), one of the particularities of the film is to topple everything it nominates into an accomplished time3. Even if the spectator perceives the film images as a show occurring live, a movie is a recorded event which we experience after some delay. The actor played his/her part in the present during the shooting and, each time the film is shown, this past present works on the present mode again. If in the theatre the action is performed, in the cinema it is reported4. The film, therefore, presents itself as a closed sequence of events, as a narrative produced by a telling authority. It is inclined to conceal its enunciation because of the very virtuality of the medium. What is perceived is not the object itself but its shadow. The film unwinds from the distance (like a play on stage), but also in the absence, as the screen creates a complete segregation between the film and the audience. Real life can never interfere with the reported action. The presence of actors being only ghost-like, their perception as fictional characters is made much easier for the spectators, who do not have to make any effort to abstract them. Through this bodily absence, cinema encourages a form of voyeurism which is no longer coupled with exhibitionism. The spectators can contemplate the action on screen without being seen and without any consent of the actors. This lack of assent would explain an old principle of classic cinema, which is to forbid the actor to look at the camera. This rule encourages the creation of a naturalistic world in which the actor and the set are on the same level of reality. Some film scholars even deny the very notion of setting in the cinema. According to them, by definition, a set is not on the same level of reality as the person or the actor, but should surround them like a frame5. In the cinema, as the distance between the film and the audience is already established by an impassable screen, the players can go beyond the stage archetypes and act on the mode of individualization. For example, during the shooting of his 1996 Hamlet, Kenneth Branagh made the actors who played the parts of mere attendants rehearse for a long time so that they did not look like artificial characters but seemed to have served at the court for many years6. Branagh applied in the extreme the principles of verisimilitude and psychological coherence which govern film narrative and more precisely Hollywoodian movies.

By stimulating perception through many pictorial and sound signifies but immediately overturning this perception in the absence, cinema works, much more than theatre, on imagination, naturalism and undisclosed illusion. The physical absence of the signifier makes the film at the same time inaccessible and infinitely desirable. This mechanics of lack and desire is reflected not only in the nature of the medium but also in film aesthetic. Editing and camera moves, by progressively revealing the action, create an enunciative mode which operates alternatively on concealment and undressing. According to André Bazin, in the 1981 book, Qu'est-ce que le cinema?, the screen would not be a frame, but a mask which would allow us to see only one part of the action7. In Metz's Essais (vol. II), the screen becomes a mask only revealing parts of the diegetic world (i.e. the world of the story), as well as a frame surrounding the representation8. This tension between absence and presence arouses desire as the spectator generally wants to see what is being hidden to him/her. Any screen adaptation of Shakespearean plays notably involves the introduction of this tension between hidden and disclosed action. In 1969, when director Tony Richardson chose to adapt on screen his theatre production of Hamlet, he decided to shoot most scenes in the theatre where the stage performance had taken place. But his adaptation does not look like filmed theatre at all because it is entirely built on the editing of close shots. By avoiding long shots which could reveal the limits of stage space, the film denies any frontier to the dramatic action and turns a centripetal show into a centrifugal fiction. The notion of off screen replaces the notion of backstage and, contrary to the latter, it extends the space of representation in the spectator's imagination instead of restricting it. This kind of adaptation thus encourages the development of a realistic diegesis in which illusion is not revealed.

Yet, even if a film gives greater importance to diegesis, it remains a piece of discourse as it reflects the intentions of its director and exerts a certain influence on the audience. Its effectiveness consists precisely in its skill to erase the marks of its enunciation. Nevertheless, this concealment has profound ideological consequences. If any ideology aims at establishing, justifying and/or legitimating relationships of power, dominant ideology has the particularity of being considered as obvious and natural. The impression of reality given by the aesthetic of Hollywood cinema intensifies this feeling of evidence, reinforcing the ideology conveyed by the actions and the situations in the movie. In Hollywood films, the camera seems to record events which really took (or takes) place in front of it. The films offer, therefore, the illusion of being as real (if not more real) than life itself. Moreover, by giving the spectator the feeling s/he can master time and space and can occupy a central place in a vanishing point, the Hollywoodian aesthetic conveys an ideology of certainty and of the familiar. It is often based on ellipsis in order to give greater importance to the intense moments and deny the repetitive aspects of everyday life. For example, when, in his 1989 Henry V, Branagh feels the need to add episodes which are absent from the original play, such as the painful march to Calais, he eventually creates a sequence in which only the most impressive and epic moments of the march are shown.

The spatial and temporal control leads to a loss of ambiguity as it allows to guide the spectator's perception and interpretation. This aesthetic builds a world where everything is very foreseeable, where emotion and catharsis reign, where every event has a meaning and where lives are turned into destinies. According to Jean-Louis Baudry in his 1978 book L'effet cinema, by creating a phantasmatisation of the subject, cinema efficiently contributes to the upholding of idealism9. In fact, the spectator is put in the same dominant and narcissistic position as in his dreams or fantasies. But in the cinema s/he attends the daydreaming of other people the director, the set-designer, the screenwriter, the lighting engineer etc. According to George W. Linden, A film is a dream whose gesture is not ours10. The fact that film resembles fantasy explains why the spectators can have a very strong reaction of love (or hate) for a movie if they recognize (or not) their own mental images in the materialized images on the screen11.

The dark of the auditorium and the physical stillness also lead to an artificial regression of the subject (who finds him/herself back in his/her mother's safe womb) and reproduce the conditions of Oedipal identification: the spectator successively identifies him/herself with the different characters according to the scenes, exactly like he used to alternate periods of love and hate for his/her mother and father12. With this identification, emotional involvement intensifies. The process of denial which, in front of any fiction, makes us think I know this is false, but everything seems so true all the same, then tends less towards incredulity and more towards the belief in the realistic illusion. The spectator is, therefore, more inclined to be conquered by the ideology of the film. In order to avoid this passive absorption of ideology, a film should reveal the fact that it is only a manufactured product and that its diegesis is only simulated. Revealing the enunciative marks would tend to restore a certain vigilance in the audience by disclosing the presence of a discourse, i.e. by showing the presence of a speaker within the film utterance and by consciously acknowledging the listener/viewer.

Laurence Olivier's 1944 film, Henry V, is famous for disclosing the conditions of theatrical and filmic production. The film opens at the Globe Theatre, in Shakespeare's time. Olivier presents King Henry as a actor backstage ready to play his part, thus encouraging us to see the character of the King as an histrionic Machiavellian. The centrifugal experience of cinema only begins when the Chorus mentions the departure of the English army. But the interpolations remain at first very stylized, far away from the usual realism of cinema. In the same way, all through the movie, the distorted perspectives, inspired by medieval illuminations, point out the artificiality of the sets. Only the battle of Agincourt drives the viewer into a realism in which illusion is not disclosed. This alternation of a theatrical, a stylized and a realistic direction produces a commentary upon the medium for which the play was written and that for which it has been adapted. Adrian Noble uses the same technique of adaptation in his 1995 movie A Midsummer Night's Dream, alternating a theatrical and a cinematic direction. Each style brings the other into focus when a change occurs, thus becoming a source of reflexive commentary.

A film can also reveal its enunciation through gazes and speeches addressed to the camera, thus reproducing the theatrical convention of asides. Making the viewer conscious of the camera deviates from the logocentric Hollywoodian ideology which tries to hide the very mechanism of artistic creation by imposing to the actor never to look at the camera. In Hollywoodian films, the actor is often there to fascinate the public, not to question or call him/her out. Therefore, when during a soliloquy on screen, a character stares at the spectators and speaks directly to them, he or she is responsible for a shock. The members of the audience who may have forgotten they were watching a film, who were fully experiencing excamation, are forced to realise the presence of a trick: the camera. The centrifugal experience of cinema then can be likened to the centripetal experience of theatre. The spectator is reminded of his/her own body and voyeuristic position. Yet, if we except the treatment of Choruses, Shakespearean films shot on the Hollywoodian mode restrict this technique to the baddies: only the characters who are linked to hell like Richard III or lago have been allowed to circumvent the filmic convention, look at the camera and provoke us to participate in their plots. Hollywoodian ideology remains protected, as formal transgression only comes with a transgression within the story: the traditional aesthetic of film is questioned only by a character who is himself on the fringe. In Oliver Parker's 1995 Othello, lago speaks directly to the lens. He then becomes not only a director of the action in the play, manipulating the characters in the story, but also a director of the images, playing with the camera and instigating the fade-outs himself by covering the lens with his hand. Laurence Olivier, playing the title role in his 1956 film Richard III, also talks to the camera as early as the first scene, to deliver Now is the winter of our discontent. In Richard Loncraine's 1995 Richard III, Ian McKellen acts as if he saw the reflection of the camera or of the spectator in a mirror. He then turns around and talks directly to the audience in the cinema.

The presence of mirrors in the field of the camera is a recurrent meta-cinematic figure as it creates a frame within a frame, and complicates the relationship between the spectator and the screen, itself considered as a kind of mirror by film theorists. In Grigori Kozintsev's 1964 Hamlet, Claudius's confession is entirely filmed while the character is looking at himself in a mirror. This introspective scene is turned into a meta-dramatic moment in which the look on the committed fault becomes a gaze on the reflection in the mirror. Claudius transfers his guilt on a shadow, on a quasi-other, and cannot receive absolution.

Director Orson Welles never uses speeches or gazes to the camera to try and disclose the illusion in his three Shakespearean films (Macbeth, 1946; Othello, 1952; Chimes at Midnight, 1965). His actors always respect the naturalistic convention. Nevertheless, he reveals the cinematic enunciation through specific camera angles. His extreme high and low-angle shots are very noticeable as they are not linked to any gaze inside the story. In other words, no character is, for example, lying on the floor to justify a low-angle shot. The vision of the camera is disconnected from any human point of view. The shots seem, therefore, to reveal the pure act of an omniscient filmic narrator. The unusual angles wake up the spectators and make them conscious of their viewing position.

Peter Greenaway is, maybe, the director who went the furthest in his search for filmic equivalents to Shakespearean meta-theatrical elements. In his 1991 Prospero's Books, an adaptation of The Tempest, the diegesis the story told by the film is interrupted by comments in voice-over, speeches and gazes directly addressed to the audience and mises-en-abyme of the screen. The action is often outlined by a golden frame held by naked bodies; fictional characters are looking at animated pictures, reflecting the situation of the real viewers. By creating parallel spaces, these screens within the screen, reintroduce the very notion of backstage.

In his adaptations, Branagh is far from being as radical as Greenaway, but it is possible to spot some reflexive and commentative constructions which bring enunciation to the fore on many occasions. In his 1989 adaptation of Henry V, the Chorus's appearances always occur on a meta-filmic mode. They precisely coincide with purely cinematic moments which could not happen in the naturalistic theatre the beginning of the battle of Agincourt, or the introduction of the betraying nobles on top of the cliff. From the very first scene, the Chorus walks in a deserted movie studio, reflecting on the medium itself. In the film of Hamlet, the palace of Elsinore is turned into a world of mirrors. Thirty two-way mirrors are placed on each side of the vast throne room, hiding as many secret rooms, and literally (as well as metaphorically) reflecting the paranoia of a narcissistic and opulent world. Hamlet delivers the soliloquy To be, or not to be in front of one of these two-way mirrors while Claudius is spying on the other side. In a talk given at the University of Yale on the 8th of November 1997, Branagh said that his first intention had been to develop an extreme multiplicity of reflections:

There's a shot in Citizen Kane where Orson Welles walks by a mirror, appears to walk by, and then a minute later, he does walk by in actual fact... An infinite number of Orson Welleses are walking across the mirror. And I think that's what I wanted with the To be or not to be soliloquy.

Branagh eventually chose a simpler solution. The camera slowly moves forward onto the Prince's reflection which finally invades the whole visual field. This shot creates a confusion between Hamlet's image and that of his double, while reflecting our own situation, looking at the show on the mirror-screen. Claudius is also in the same position as the public in the cinema as he is protected by a screen, observing someone who cannot see him.

This reflexivity can also be found in the repetition of images within the movie itself. For example, the sequence which starts the second half (after the Intermission) is a flashback of images already seen in the first half. Claudius's speech about the succession of sorrows (4. 5. 7292) is visually accompanied by a kind of summary of the previous episodes. This adaptation of Hamlet therefore presents a powerful reflexiveness as the flow of images ends up feeding on itself. Some other times, enunciation is made visible by the camera angles and movements. High-angle shots, as when the camera overhangs Fortinbras's soldiers carrying Hamlet's corpse away, are alien to the human gaze. These shots clearly reveal the intrusion of a superior narrative authority. In the same way, Branagh's long, obvious circular moves, point out their own enunciation by attracting the spectators eye onto their very trajectory.

Yet, unlike Greenaway, Branagh never jeopardizes the narrative development in his screen adaptations. Like most Hollywoodian directors, Branagh often states that his only goal is to tell a story. This is how he described in the 1993 the intentions of his theatre and film company, Renaissance:

We're not going to assume that you've seen the plays before or that you know that famous essay about it or this famous book about it. We're just going to say what a great yam Hamlet is13.

Branagh makes diegesis and narration prevail over discourse and enunciation. The disclosing of discourse remains confined in a peritext which is external to the films and which is composed of documentaries on the shooting and of interviews granted by the actors and director to the media. But this particular disclosing of what goes on in the wings uses fetishist processes which in fact celebrate the making of illusion in the films and participate to the fascination of the star system. For example, the adaptation of Hamlet is accompanied by two documentaries on the making of the film14, and by a diary telling almost day by day the events of the shooting15. Moreover, the 1995 film, In The Bleak Midwinter which Branagh wrote and directed also reveals the backstory of the 1996 Hamlet. Shot on a comic and burlesque mode, In The Bleak Midwinter tells the story of amateur actors trying to put on a production of Hamlet in a disused church. Branagh said in a 1996 interview: When people ask, Why do Hamlet?, I say all the answers are contained in Bleak Midwinter'16. He thus considers the comedy as holding the subtext of his Hamlet. In The Bleak Midwinter appears, in fact, as a way to drain the movie of Hamlet from all its parodie and meta-dramatic elements in order to foster diegetic illusion17.

Branagh's films seem very much to follow the aesthetic of narrative cinema which tries both to make diegesis more natural and to make the film enunciation submerged within the narrative flow. Discourse disappears under a narrative in which the events seem to be told by themselves. The cuts from one shot to another, as well as the camera moves within the shots, are, as far as possible, justified by the logic of the story, by the characters gazes, gestures or moves. Therefore, they appear not as a random act of enunciation but as a logical effect of the diegetic world. In this type of editing, the mind of the spectator naturally embraces the points of view offered by the director, because those points of view are justified by the geography of action and the displacing of dramatic interest. It is certainly possible to notice several reflexive aspects in Branagh's Shakespearean films but they never compromise the diegetic world. Even though enunciation still exists, it is hidden by (and under) narration. In Henry V, the character of the Chorus serves as much to create an effect of alienation as to plunge the audience into the fiction. Even if he appears on a meta-filmic mode, he invites the audience to enter the fictive story. For example, at the beginning of the film, the Chorus speaks directly to the camera, then opens a huge wooden door leading to the world of the fiction: alienation couples with a powerful irruption in the diegesis. This frequent use of doors in Branagh's cinema could, in fact, be explained by a desire to import meta-dramatic elements into the films while retaining the impression of reality brought by the diegesis. Doors create the reflexive effect of a frame within a frame, but they can remain frames entirely motivated by the film story. In the same way, shots through keyholes for example, when the faithful nobles spy on the traitors at Southampton in Henry V introduce a secondary screen without compromising the diegetic logic.

In Branagh's adaptation of Hamlet, the use of mirrors also dissolves into the story and even participates to the audience's identification with the eponymous hero. Indeed, when a spectator looks at a character looking in a mirror, his/her gaze on the reflection turns back on the character who becomes another him/herself. Our identification with the position the character holds in space is thus reinforced.

Film theorists consider flashbacks as films within a film because of their partial autonomy18. But even when Branagh adds flashbacks in his movies, the reflexiveness bom from such devices do not jeopardize diegesis either, but participate in its development, helping to clarify the story line. Even the emphatic camera moves participate in the narration. They dissolve into the diegesis by bringing in the camera field such character or such action useful to the story. Again, Branagh invites the audience to enter the diegetic world through reflexive devices. In his adaptations, Branagh develops a highly elaborated narrative tendency very much in line with the Hollywoodian film style which makes the story more logical and the situations more explicit. Sometimes, enunciation pierces through narration with ostentatious camera moves or reflexive images, but it finds itself swallowed by the diegesis in the end. Through the spatial focusing and time control it implies, narration defines an itinerary of the gaze, imposes a trajectory inside Shakespeare's plays, until the plots seem even though it can only ever be an appearance to prevail over discourse.

One may wonder if meta-cinema can ever match meta-theatre in the disclosing of illusion and in the blurring between the show and the audience. Indeed, whatever a film director may do, the actors on screen and the spectators in the cinema are obligated to remain apart. At the end of Prospero's Books, however much Greenaway's Ariel attemps to force his way through the confines of his screen-prison, he will never reach the viewers. Meta-cinema is always prevented by the primordial unreality of the movie medium and the inevitable separation between screen and audience. Metz writes in his 1991 book, U enonciation impersonnelle, There always comes a time... when the film cannot reveal its conditions of birth any further... Even if a director films the camera, he does not reveal the act of this filming19. Meta-cinema would actually combine enunciative disclosure as well as submersion in the narrative world. A more general dialectic would, in fact, exist between the acts of disclosing and creating illusion, in the cinema as well as in the theatre. The techniques that tend to reveal artificial devices can, paradoxically, also participate to the making of illusion. In a dramatic text, a Chorus or a Prologue can underline stage devices to make us plunge into the fiction even more. In the play of Henry V, the first speech of the Chorus insists on theatrical fabrication and the disclosing of illusion (Can this cockpit hold / The vasty fields of France? [Prologue, 1112] while encouraging the audience to imagine a realistic universe Think, when we talk of horses, that you see them [Prologue, 26]. In the same way, a play within a play seems to both reveal the illusion and make the first level of dramatic unreality (the main action) more real. In his psychoanalytic study on Hamlet, André Green comments on the Mousetrap:

[The] arrival of other actors moves forward the status of the previous ones. The first actors are confronted with actors playing the parts of actors. The presence of these second-degree players makes us forget that the first ones were actors and brings them a semblance of reality, the illusion of theatre taking refuge in the Players20.

Green's remarks on the play within the play can also be applied to the film within the film. The included film, presented as an illusion or a memory, can serve to make the including film seem even more real. For example, in Branagh's Hamlet, the quasi-subliminal images in which a dagger is plunged into Claudius ear during the confession scene enhances the impression of reality given by the main action when the viewer is jolted back into it. Therefore, as meta-theatre in Shakespeare's plays would allow both to disclose illusion and to make the drama more real, meta-cinema would combine enunciative disclosure as well as submersion in the narrative world.

The efficiency of meta-cinema eventually seems to depend on the ability of each spectator to spot the marks of enunciation in a movie. According to André Gaudreault and François Jost in their 1990 book Cinéma et Récit II: Le récit cinématographique, The perception of film enunciation is shared very unequally. It varies according to the spectator21. For one person, the enunciative authority may always seem visible, for another it may never be obvious. It all depends on the more or less detailed and careful reading we make of the film. According to Metz, the more the audience is educated, the more the number of neutral images decreases22. Therefore, it should not necessarily be the director's responsibility to make a film which discloses its own illusion. The spectators should also be conscious of the enunciation by picking out the choices which, for example, govern the position of the camera and the changes of shots. The educated spectator can then enjoy the Holly woodian aesthetic with full knowledge of the facts, by deciphering the illusion processes while being plunged into the diegesis. Consequently, it would not be accurate to establish a distinction between Shakespearean screen adaptations which disclose the conditions of their creation and those which constantly foster diegetic illusion. There are only films working on different levels of illusion and which more or less make us forget the origins of their birth.

I wich to thank Kevin De Ornellas (Queen's University of Belfast) for his helpjul suggestions which greatly influenced the revision of this paper.


Branagh, Kenneth. Hamlet. GB, USA: Castle Rock Entertainment, 1996.

Branagh, Kenneth. Henry V. GB: Renaissance Films pic, 1989 Renaissance Films plc, 1989

Branagh Kenneth. In The Bleak Midwinter. GB: Midwinter Films; Castle Rock Entertainment, 1995.

Greenaway, Peter. Prospero's Books. GB: Channel Four Films, 1991.

Kozintsev, Grigori. Hamlet. USSR: Lenfilm, 1964.

Loncraine, Richard. Richard III. GB, USA: Bayly / Paré Production, United Artists Pictures, 1996.

Noble, Adrian. A Midsummer Night's Dream. GB: Royal Shakespeare Company Production, 1995.

Olivier, Laurence. Henry V. GB: Two Cities Film, 1944.

Oliver, Laurence. Richard III. GB: London Films, 1955.

Parker, Oliver. Othello. GB; USA: Castle Rock Entertainment, 1995.

Richardson, Tony. Hamlet. GB: Woodfall Production Co, 1969. Welles, Orson. Chimes at Midnight. Spain: International Films Espagnol Alpine, 1965.

Welles, Orson. Macbeth. USA: Mercury Films and Republic Pictures, 1946.

Welles, Orson. Othello. Morocco, USA: Mogador-Films (Mercury), 1952.


Baudry, Jean-Louis. L'effet cinéma. P.: Editions Albatros, 1978.

Bazin, André. Qu'est-ce que le cinema? P.: Les Editions du Cerf, 1981.

Dufrenne, Mikel. Phénoménologie de l'expérience esthétique: l'objet esthétique. P.: Presses Universitaires de France, 1967.

Elam, Keir. The Semiotics of Theatre and Drama. N.Y.; L.: Methuen, 1980.

Gaudreault, André and François Jost. Cinéma et Récit II. P.: Nathan, 1990.

Green, André. Hamlet et Hamlet. P.: Balland, 1982.

Gritten, David. The Film's the Thing // The Daily Telegraph. 1997. 11 January. (Art Supplement 1).

Linden George. Reflexions On The Screen. Belmont: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1970.

Jackson, Russell. Diary: In Hamlet by William Shakespeare: Screenplay, Introduction and Film Diary (Kenneth Branagh, 179213). L.: Chatto & Windus, 1996.

Metz, Christian. L'énonciation impersonnelle ou le site du film. P.: Klincksieck, 1991.

Metz, Christian. Essais sur la signification au cinéma: Vol. 1. P.: Klincksieck, 1978.

Metz, Christian. Essais sur la signification au cinéma: Vol. 2. P.: Klincksieck, 1981.

Metz, Christian. Le signifiant imaginaire: psychanalyse et cinéma. P.: Christian Bourgeois Editeur, 1984.

Smith, Emma. "Either for tragedy, comedy": Attitudes to Hamlet in Kenneth Branagh's In The Bleak Midwinter and Hamlet // Shakespeare, Film, Fin de Siècle / Ed. by Mark Thornton Burnett and Ramona Wray. L.: Macmillan, 2000. P. 137146.

1. Christian Metz. Essais sur la signification au cinéma: Vol. I. P.: Klincksieck, 1978. P. 19. I translate all the quotes from this author from French.

2. See Keir Elam. The Semiotics of Theatre and Drama. N.Y.; L.: Methuen, 1980. P. 8, 12.

3. See Metz. Essais sur la signification au cinéma: Vol. II. P.: Klincksieck, 1981. P. 73.

4. See Mikel Dufrenne. Phénoménologie de l'expérience esthétique: l'objet esthétique. P.: Presses Universitaires de France, 1967. P. 60.

5. See Metz. Essais sur la signification au cinéma: Vol. II. P. 67.

6. Information given to me by Russell Jackson, Branagh's textual consultant, on the 12th January of 1998.

7. See André Bazin. Qu'est-ce que le cinéma? P. Les Editions du Cerf, 1981. P. 160.

8. See Metz. Essais sur la signification au cinéma: Vol. II. P. 23.

9. Jean-Louis Baudry. L'effet cinéma. P. Editions Albatros, 1978. P. 25. My translation from French.

10. George Linden. Reflexions On The Screen Belmont: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1970. P. 180.

11. See Metz. Le signifiant imaginaire. P.: Christian Bourgeois Editeur, 1984. P. 137.

12. See Baudry, 38.

13. In a TV interview with Charlie Rose, PBS Broadcasting, May 1993.

14. Patrick Reams. The Readiness Is All: The Making of Hamlet. A BBC Education Production, 1997 and Jane Dickson, Jill Poppy et Ian Wall. To Cut or Not To Cut: The Making of Hamlet Film Education BBC2, 1997.

15. See Russell Jackson. Diary // Hamlet by William Shakespeare: Screenplay, Introduction and Film Diary, Kenneth Branagh. L.: Chatto & Windus, 1996. P. 179213.

16. Quoted by David Gritten. The Film's the Thing // The Daily Telegraph. 1997. 11 January. (Art Supplement, 1).

17. For a detailed analysis of this point, see Emma Smith, Either for tragedy, comedy: Attitudes to Hamlet in Kenneth Branagh's In The Bleak Midwinter and Hamlet // Shakespeare, Film, Fin de Siècle / Ed. by Mark Thornton Burnett and Ramona Wray. L.: Macmillan, 2000. P. 137146.

18. See Metz. L'énonciation impersonnelle ou le site du film. P.: Klincksieck, 1991. P. 108.

19. Metz. L'énonciation impersonnelle. P. 30. My translation from French.

20. André Green. Hamlet et Hamlet. P. Balland, 1982. P. 84. My translation from French.

21. Gaudreault et Jost. Cinéma et Récit II: Le récit cinématographique. P.: Nathan, 1990. P. 44. My translation from French.

22. Metz. L'énonciation impersonnelle. P. 169.