British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

Soul of Wit, The

Synopsis
Independent short which adapts characters, speech and themes from Hamlet. The film focuses on the fractured world of schizophrenics inside a psychiatric institution, with a Shakespearean twist in characters and language.
Language
English
Country
Canada
Medium
Film
Technical information
Colour / Sound
Year of release
2007
Duration
11 mins
Availability
No archive copy or distributor known (11/2011).

Credits

Director
Edward Folger
Producer
Edward Folger; Napatsi Folger; Tara Arnatsiaq-Barnes
Cinematographer
Sinan Inceoz
Writer
Edward Folger
Cast
Colin MunchHamlet
Ray BesharahDr Polon (Polonius)
Laura HallOphelia
Adam JarvisOsric
Cody CamaneleVoltemand
Dave DawsonCornelius
Hussein MohamedYorick
Jason HansonGuildenstern
Kyle MayhewFortinbras
Mosha FolgerRosencrantz
Ray BesharahGhost voice (Ghost)

Additional Details

Production type
Fiction Films
Plays
Hamlet
Subjects
Drama
Keywords
psychiatry; schizophrenia; Shakespeare, William (1564-1616); Untrained actors

Notes

General
Filmed in 2006 in Ottawa. Members of a Youth Training Programme comprised the crew, and the cast of actors was largely selected from a local improvisation group. The actors were shown documentaries on schizophrenia and psychiatric institutions, and were given reign to improvise movements, speech, and actions, as long as they remained within the scope of schizophrenia and their characters.

The video is, in part, dedicated to the late Professor Hugh Kenner, author, critic, and inventor of Travesty, a software program that generates nonsense texts that maintain the poetic and/or prose rhythms of a given input sample.
History
Premiered at Saw Video on January 27th, 2007, and was also screened at the National Archives on May 30th, 2007.
Reviews
In an interview, conducted by Danielle Van Wagner in May 2007, Folger discusses the background and evolution of the work, as well as the inspiration he drew from William Shakespeare, experimental film maker Willard Maas, and Hugh Kenner’s Travesty software. Additionally, Folger reflects on the characterisation of the central figures, themes of madness and adaptation and his opinions on the Canadian Shakespearian tradition. A detailed account of the film by Van Wagner is also available: both pieces at http://www.uoguelph.ca/shakespeare/a_folger.cfm (accessed 11/2011).

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