Literatures, Languages & Cultures

Shakespeare on Film

Film Studies lecturer, Dr David Sorfa, delivers a new public lecture as part of the BFI's Shakespeare on Film season.

From a season of cinematic Macbeths with a live performance at the beautiful 18th century St Andrews In The Square to pop-up screenings around Wigtown, the best film adaptations of the Bard tour Scotland from 10 August 2016.

Filmhouse in Edinburgh, Glasgow Film Festival and Driftwood Cinema, which tours Dumfries & Galloway, are proud to present the best of the Bard on the big screen as part of the BFI Film Audience Network’s Shakespeare on Film season. This spectacular UK-wide series of special screenings and events is designed to celebrate the enormous impact the playwright’s life, work and legacy has had on cinema.

In association with The University of Edinburgh, Filmhouse Edinburgh will present a varied programme of Shakespeare adaptations by some of the great filmmakers. Pushing across boundaries of language, genre and culture, the programme emphasises the diversity of approaches filmmakers have taken in responding to Shakespeare’s plays, going far beyond ‘conventional’ renditions of the text. 

Foreign-language masterpieces such as Kurosawa’s towering Throne of Blood (1957) and Jiri Weiss’ war-time romance Romeo, Juliet and Darkness (1960) screen alongside free-form English language adaptations including sci-fi classic Forbidden Planet (1956) and Woody Allan’s raucous farce A Midsummer Nights Sex Comedy (1982), which focusses Shakespeare through the lens of Ingmar Bergman. Olivier’s Hamlet and Branagh’s Henry V represent more traditional responses to the Bard, in a programme of exuberant range.

The majority of screenings will be introduced academics or other experts, thanks to the support of The University of Edinburgh. Filmhouse will also host a free hour long lecture by David Sorfa, the University’s Senior Lecturer in Film Studies, called 'Double, Double: Reflecting Shakespeare in Cinema'. The lecture and introductions will help contextualise the variety of adaptations on show, and will aim to spur discussion about these filmmakers’ approaches to bringing Shakespeare to the big screen.

Filmhouse Edinburgh

Tickets on sale soon at

  • Hamlet (Laurence Olivier, 1948) Thursday 29 September
  • Throne of Blood (Akira Kurosawa, 1957) Tuesday 4 October
  • To Be Or Not To Be (Ernst Lubitsch, 1942) Wednesday 5 October
  • A Double Life (George Cukor, 1947) Monday 17 October
  • Romeo, Juliet and Darkness (Jiri Weiss, 1960)  Sunday 23 October
  • Prospero’s Books (Peter Greenaway, 1991) Thursday 27 October
  • Kiss Me Kate 3D (George Sidney, 1953) Monday 31 October
  • Makibefo (Alexander Abela, 2000) Wednesday 2 November
  • A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy (Woody Allen, 1982) Monday 7 November
  • Henry V (Kenneth Branagh, 1989) Tuesday 8 November
  • Forbidden Planet (Fred M. Wilcox, 1956) Monday 21 November
  • Chimes at Midnight (Orson Welles, 1965) Wednesday 23 November