Sunday, April 8, 2012

III.ii. The Mouse-Trap - Fodor (2007)

The Mouse-Trap is translated into a German experimental film in Fodor's vision. It was made very quickly, although the play does allow for temporal anomalies like this, as we've often discussed. In the film, we first see a hammer and a screwdriver, the murder weapons, as it turns out. Then the murderer, thinking, plotting. The Queen getting her picture taken, an image of the people's adulation. At this point, we cut to Hamlet in the audience, nodding along. Even in the text as written, the Queen hammers her point a bit stridently - Gertrude's evaluation is not far off - so this might indicate that her dialog was manipulated by Hamlet. A similar idea is used here to "get" Gertrude as well as Claudius. In the text, it makes her a betrayer of her word. In this version's film, she is a co-conspirator whose motivation seems to be greater fame and power.

The film continues... The Queen is having dinner and flirting (insincerely) with the King. In the audience, there are uncomfortable shots of Claudius and Polonia - in this version, his new mistress. Does she see herself onscreen? Is she actually the Queen character who seduces the King to slip him poison? We assume it's the Player Queen, because that's what it is in the text. Fodor's gender-switching game may give a different interpretation where the character is both women. On screen, drinks are brought to the table, and in the audience, it sparks Ophelia's "You are merry", but as with most of the dialog that should intercut the Mouse-Trap, it is done in voice-over, making it very ambiguous as to when these words were actually spoken. Usually, we can assume they were said before the start of the film. In others, such as Getrude's "The lady doth protest too much", that wouldn't make sense. Are these words just the imaginings of Hamlet, taking the place of memories? Or since we never see her "protest", are we hearing something said in an earlier part of the projection?

Back in the film, the King drinks and topples over (Polonia and Claudius share a look, and again we wonder if she's the woman). Horribly, the poison is just a knock-out drug and the murderer must stab the King in the ear, driving the screwdriver down with his hammer. At the first stab, we hear a horse neighing, perhaps an image imposed by Hamlet to represent his noble father.
Claudius starts getting hot under the collar, and at the murder, Fodor flash cuts to every character's reaction. Shock is registered on almost all faces, even on Rosencrantz/Guildenstern's, though he soon starts to laugh at how cool the violence is like the sociopath he is. Children's laughter is heard on the soundtrack at this point. The King rises and distraught, goes to stand before everyone, the movie projection flickering on his face. He's lost it completely and he stands revealed, the projection putting the murder on him, like blood on his hands. Everyone then leaves behind him, and only a judgmental Gertrude stays a moment to give her son a stern look (setting up the next scene), before leaving Hamlet and smiling Horatio alone in the dark to enjoy their victory.

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