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A VILLAGE PERFORMANCE OF HAMLET

Yugoslavia, 1972 (MIFF 1974)

Director: Kristo Papic

A fascist official in a little Croatian village decides to celebrate the anniversary of his appointment as local chief of the Party with a suitable cultural event. He wants the villagers to stage Shakespeare's Hamlet. The school-teacher is reluctant, as only one person in the village has ever seen the play, and he can remember only fragments. But his objections are over-ruled, and he takes to drink while the peasants dismember the play.

The Party leader is cast as Claudius, and his mistress as Gertrude. His ingratiating lieutenant takes the part of Polonius. His daughter is Ophelia and her boyfriend. Hamlet. As rehearsals get under way. events in the village parallel those in the play. Hamlet's father is arrested for embezzling local funds from the Party, and the vital papers which could prove his innocence are missing. Hamlet comes to suspect that the Party chief himself is guilty, and he forces a show-down during the performance of the play.

Director Kristo Papic has strewn it with some set pieces that give this a fine visual edge despite its literary premise and coincidences in relating the real characters and their parts in the play.'

Mosk, Variety

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