She insists that Titus xllldl‘U/lit'llS is a play about violence. not one that
wantonly revels in it. Consequently. she follows Shakespeare‘s convention of not showing
certain acts. such as the rape and mutilation of
'l‘itus‘s daughter. while others happen on camera. This did not stop some American critics attacking the film on the grounds that it was too violent. however. Hypocrisy. says 'l'aymor.
‘America is this really warped country. Nothing was more violent than Brave/wart. but because it's about heroism and freedom lighting and its historical. we just overlook Ithe violence] totally. And then there’s
violence against women. which is another
level altogther. You can have Scream. Scream
3. and people excuse it as a cartoon horror
film. No one seems to he upset about that.
‘lt's interesting what we accept. and I think it is a very sick thing in society that we can't even talk about that. either. Why is the first twenty minutes of Saving Private Ryan acceptable? Because it happened? It‘s the most violent thing I‘ve ever seen. It was ridiculous. I got it alter two minutes. I got it after 30 seconds. Do we accept it because those were anonymous people dying. whereas in a thing like a Shakespeare play they're individuals that we end up knowing and it‘s more disturbing."
To make her point about violence. 'l‘aymor has shot Titus through the eyes of a 20th century boy whose war games with toy soldiers become a reality when he is carried off into the past to witness the spiralling
Left to right: Alan Cumming's s, Saturninus and Anthony Hopkins' Titus; Jessica Lange's Tamora; Matthew Rhy’s Demetrius and Jonathan Rhys Meyers’ Chiron
horror. He is last seen walking towards a sunrise. carrying the baby of one of the film‘s chief villains.
‘l was very aware that this film was going to open on (‘hristmas l)ay. l‘)‘)‘) and was therefore one of the last films of the millennium.’ says 'l'aymer. 'l felt strongly that when you tell a story like this. although you can‘t give answers. you must say that the children who watch it are the only hope and must be made aware.
'So 'l‘itus is also about this boy's journey from ignorance and innocence to the potentiality of compassion and change. This is very important to why I did this film at all.’
Titus is screened at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, Sat 26 Aug; selected release from Fri 1 Sep. See review next issue.
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