Shakespeare Lives season poster
Wednesday 01 June 2016 - 00:00 to Saturday 02 July 2016 - 00:00

Shakespeare on Film

 As the world celebrates Shakespeare four-hundred years after his death, the British Film Institute (BFI) and British Council unveiled the Shakespeare on Film touring collection. The BFI has curated an international touring programme of 18 key British Shakespeare films that will go to 110 countries – from Ireland to Iraq, China to the USA – the most extensive film programme ever undertaken. The project includes films dating from 1899 right up to the present day.  

Screenings in Ireland: JUNE | Shakespeare Lives on Film season 

In partnership with the Irish Film Institute (IFI) we have planned a month-long season of Shakespeare films and film education activity in Ireland to celebrate 400 years of Shakespeare’s legacy.

With no other writer impacting so greatly on cinema (he has over 1100 credits on the Internet Movie database!), this programme explores how filmmakers have adapted, been inspired by and interpreted Shakespeare’s work for the big screen.

The season will include films from the BFI's Shakespeare on Film touring programme and also other exciting films adapted from the works of Shakespeare.  The films show the continued relevance of Shakespeare, proving his work is endlessly cultivated for contemporary cinema in imaginative ways and often speaks for all humanity and nations, exploring themes still relevant today. 


The following films will be showing at the IFI in June: 

18:30 Wednesday 8 June

Chimes at Midnight 

Chimes At Midnight presents an abridged compilation of both parts of Henry IV, and adds some scenes from Richard II and Henry V, along with some text from The Merry Wives of Windsor. Welles himself plays the part of Sir John Falstaff, the “abominable misleader of youth” who is friend to Prince Hal (Keith Baxter), heir to the throne. Their troubled relationship plays out against the backdrop of a country at war in a film Welles regarded as his personal favourite. Info: Director - Orson Welles, 115 mins, France-Spain-Switzerland, 1965, Digital 

15:00 Sunday 12 June

The Taming of the Shrew The setting is Padua in Italy in the late 1500s; the rich merchant Baptista Minola (Michael Hordern) is attempting to marry off his two daughters, but he will only part with his youngest, the sweet-natured Bianca (Natasha Pyne), if he can find someone who is up to the task of marrying his eldest, the formidable, ill-tempered Kate (Elizabeth Taylor). Enter lusty nobleman Petruchio (Richard Burton). Originally intended as a vehicle for Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni, Burton and Taylor put a million of their own cash into the production to secure their roles; their undeniable chemistry adds layers to this playful adaptation. Info: Director - Franco Zefferelli, 126 mins, UK-Italy, 1967, Digital

18:30 Wednesday 15 June

Hamlet (70mm) Kenneth Branagh is contemporary cinema’s most noted interpreter of Shakespeare, having now brought five of his plays to the big screen. His version of Hamlet represents perhaps his crowning achievement, the first unabridged film of the play, running to just over four hours in length, which restores text from the Second Quarto and amendments from other sources to the First Folio version. Branagh’s decision to shoot the film entirely on 70mm adds to the epic scale of the production, and allows him to create a uniquely visual take on the material. This is a rare opportunity to experience the film as the director intended.  Info: Director - Kenneth Branagh, 242 mins (plus intermission), UK-USA, 1996, 70mm
Event starts 20:30. Films starts 22:00 Friday 17 June* Open-air Cinema: Much Ado About Nothing

The sun-kissed hills of Tuscany provide the perfect backdrop for Kenneth Branagh’s mischievous adaptation of the Bard’s comedy wherein the defiantly single Beatrice (Emma Thompson) and Benedick (Branagh) find themselves unwittingly thrust together through the machinations of a younger newly wedded couple. Boasting some of the most uproarious verbal jousting in the English language, Much Ado About Nothing remains a wise and witty delight.  Info: Director - Kenneth Branagh,  111 mins, 1993, UK-USA 

20:30 Saturday 18 June

My Own Private Idaho A key film in the New Queer Cinema movement of the early ‘90s, and a landmark of American independent filmmaking, My Own Private Idaho is in part based on Shakespeare’s Henry IV Parts 1 & 2. Van Sant fuses the stories of disaffected young gay hustler Mike (River Phoenix), who suffers from narcolepsy, with that of rich kid Scott (Keanu Reeves), who is idling away the time until his 21st birthday and the sizable inheritance that will come with it, a character specifically based on Shakespeare’s Prince Hal. The boys’ paths cross in the wide-open spaces of the Pacific Northwest, Italy and back again. Info: Director - Gus Van Sant,104 mins, USA, 1991, Digital  
14:00 Sunday 19 June The Tempest Derek Jarmen’s interpretation of Shakespeare’s final play is an evocative depiction of colonialism, revenge, retribution and reconciliation. Prospero (Heathcote Williams), the former Duke of Milan, and his daughter Miranda (Toyah Willcox) were abandoned on a remote island by Antonio (Richard Warwick), the Duke’s brother. Versed in the ways of sorcery, Prospero creates a tempest to shipwreck Antonio on the island in an attempt to marry his travelling companion Prince Ferdinand of Naples (David Meyer) to his daughter, in order to restore peace between Milan and Naples. Jarmen brings a punk sensibility to the production, with wild visuals and rich designs, which conceal the film’s modest budget. Info: Director - Derek Jarmen, 93 mins, UK, 1979, Digital 
18:30 Wednesday 22 June Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead Sir Tom Stoppard has often exhibited a playful, subversive approach to the Bard; he co-wrote the Oscar-winning screenplay for Shakespeare in Love (John Madden, 1998), and has written for the stage Dogg’s Hamlet, Cahoot’s Macbeth, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, this adaptation of which represents his sole credit as film director. Minor characters in Hamlet, the film places the two at its centre as they wander in and out of events at Elsinore, seemingly unaware of their roles in the larger drama as they muse on their own concerns. Irreverent and witty, it’s an ingenious take on the original play. Info: Director - Tom Stoppard, 118 mins, UK-USA, 1990, 35mm
13:20 Saturday 25 June Romeo and Juliet Adapted for the screen over 50 times, whether serving as the inspiration for a film such as West Side Story (Jerome Robbins, Robert Wise, 1961), or in versions more faithful to the original text, Romeo and Juliet has always been one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays with cinema audiences. Zeffirelli’s remains one of the most acclaimed, and was the first film to cast as leads actors close to the (speculative, in Romeo’s case) ages of the play’s protagonists, 17-year-old Leonard Whiting and 15-year-old Olivia Hussey. Enormously successful on release, it is currently the last Shakespeare adaptation to have been Oscar-nominated for Best Picture. Info: Director - Franco Zefferelli, 138 mins, UK-Italy, 1968, Digital
11:00 Sunday 26 June* The Lion King (IFI Family Festival) 

The Lion King, was inspired by one of Shakespeare's best-known plays, Hamlet. Don’t miss this classic animation about Simba the lion cub and his jealous uncle Scar on the big screen!  Join RTÉjr’s Clara Murray before the show, as we sing our way through some of the hits, and find out some exciting Shakespeare facts in our Pop-up Shakespeare Corner. Info: Directors - Roger Allers, Rob Minkoff, 89 mins, 1994, Animation/Adventure/Drama  

18:15 Wednesday 30 June* Macbeth with post-show panel discussion  As the first film Roman Polanski directed following the horrific murder of Sharon Tate, his pregnant wife, at the hands of the Manson Family, it is not surprising that his treatment of Macbeth is particularly dark and brutal. Taking marked liberties with the text, most notably with the character of Ross, who, through careful and deliberate placement, is elevated to a much more central role, it is a lurid and hallucinatory representation of the play. It is also powerful and undeniably cinematic, full of sound and fury, all of which is significant in one of the most singular of Shakespeare adaptations. Info: Director - Roman Polanski, 140 mins, UK-USA, 1971, Digital
Saturday 2 July Play On! Silent Shakespeare A new compilation of silent Shakespeare shorts drawn from the British National Film and Television Archive, featuring a newly commissioned score from The Globe Players. Among the highlights will be King John (UK, 1899), the world’s earliest surviving Shakespeare adaptation; extracts from early versions of Hamlet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Richard III and cartoon parodies of Shakespeare’s plays by British animation pioneer Anson Dyer. The programme also visits Shakespeare’s birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon, as seen through the eyes of filmmakers in the 1920s.


Join us in Temple Bar's Meeting House Square for the perfect midsummer's evening at our Shakespeare open-air cinema event.  There will be a series of pre-screening pop-up Shakespearean performances, live music, and a pig on a spit to keep your Shakespearean appetites satisfied before the screening of Kenneth Branagh's Much Ado About Nothing, arguably one of the best Shakespeare adaptations ever filmed! 

Please visit our Event page for full details.


As part of the Shakespeare Lives on Film season the following talks and workshops will be taking place:

- Archive at Lunchtime Daily throughout June | This month's Archive at Lunchtime events at the IFI celebrate Bloomsday and the quatercentenary of Shakespeare’s death.  There will be a special Archive at Lunchtime double bill with introduction ‘Killing Two Bards’, The influence of Shakespeare on Joyce', with Dr. Samuel Slote on Saturday 25 June, 13:00 | FREE events but booking required.  Please visit our Event page for more information.

- IFI Family Festival Workshop: Screen Magic |Sunday 26 June, 11-2pm | Ages: 9-12

Get your Shakespeare on with writer and co-director of Big Smoke Writing Factory, Claire Hennessy. In this fun and practical workshop, participants will think about story, character and dialogue and develop a short script of their own, updating one of Shakespeare’s stories for a   modern audience. Please visit our Event page for full details.

- Panel Discussion: Reinterpreting Shakespeare | Wednesday 30 June following the screening of Macbeth with Selina Cartmell, London-based Artistic Director of the multi-award winning company Siren Productions


A travelling exhibition Shakespeare Lives through Kenneth Branagh on Stage and Screen will accompany the season and can be viewed in the IFI foyer from 1 - 30 June.

This exhibition celebrates the work of Sir Kenneth Branagh in bringing Shakespeare to life on stage and screen and making the work of the Bard accessible to a global audience.

Join in the conversation on Twitter using #ShakespeareLives.


 Supported by the GREAT campaign.