Prospero's Books is a 1991 British avant-garde film adaptation of William Shakespeare's The Tempest, written and directed by Peter Greenaway. John Gielgud plays Prospero, the protagonist who provides the off-screen narration and the voices to the other story characters. Stylistically, Prospero's Books is narratively and cinematically innovative in its techniques, combining mime, dance, opera, and animation. Edited in Japan, the film makes extensive use of digital image manipulation (using Hi-Vision video inserts and the Paintbox system), often overlaying multiple moving and still pictures with animations. Michael Nyman composed the musical score and Karine Saporta choreographed the dance. The film is also notable for its extensive use of nudity, reminiscent of Renaissance paintings of mythological characters. The nude actors and extras represent a cross-section of male and female humanity.
Prospero's Books is a complex tale based upon William Shakespeare's The Tempest. Miranda, the daughter of Prospero, an exiled magician, falls in love with Ferdinand, the son of his enemy; while the sorcerer's sprite, Ariel, convinces him to abandon revenge against the traitors from his earlier life. In the film, Prospero stands in for Shakespeare himself, and is seen writing and speaking the story's action as it unfolds.
Ariel is played by four actors: three acrobats — a boy, an adolescent, and a youth — and a boy singer. Each represents a classical elemental. Director: Peter Greenaway.
Cast: John Gielgud, Michael Clark, Michel Blanc, Erland Josephson, Isabelle Pasco, Tom Bell, Kenneth Cranham, Mark Rylance, Gerard Thoolen, Pierre Bokma, Jim van der Woude, Michiel Romeyn. UK, Netherlands, France, Italy, Japan, 1991. Download Prospero's Books.