Comedy Oddities: Shakespeare 2000

shakespeare 2000 indexWhen I first heard about this unusual Czechoslovakian animated film I thought it might be quite an interesting idea, as a delivery guy attempts to make a delivery to a number of Shakespearian characters who all live in the same building, including Othello, Falstaff, King Lear, Romeo, Macbeth, Oberon and Titania and various others, and we get to see how they exist in the modern era. But eight minutes later I was tempted to start a new column for the site called “What The Fucking Fuck Was That?” just to cover this alone.

Starting out with the arrival of a delivery van with “Shakespeare 2000” on it, we see a delivery guy enter a very large tower block with a box, and attempt to deliver it to the various residents. First up is a chicken chewing Falstaff who’s just in his underwear, and who quickly exposes himself to our sort of hero, before it cuts away to Romeo who is now apparently a sex criminal as he drills a hole in the ceiling and spies on a naked woman who may or may not be Juliet, as director Dagmar Doubková only reveals the names of certain characters when he sees fit.

Cutting back to our poor old delivery guy, and the rest of the short sees him try to deliver his package only to be ignored or attacked, with a sex crazed (and strangely white) Othello strangling him at one point, who then goes on to kill Macbeth while Lady Macbeth stands by and drinks some booze. Every so often we cut back to Romeo’s antics as he tries to get laid, and also pop in on a room full of characters who I presume are meant to be from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, though as one transforms in to a hippopotamus I can’t be certain. Oh yeah, and a couple called Katy and Petronius have a brief bit of sex, though why they’re present as they’re not the names of any Shakespeare characters is beyond me.

Despite being bemusing (and very occasionally amusing) I ummm’d and ahhhh’d about writing about it because it’s so odd, but as it stayed in my memory and refused to go away I felt the urge to rant away, if only in the hope that I could share its insanity with others because I’m evil like that. And also because I hope someone in the comments section might be able to explain what it’s trying to do, I studied a fair amount of Shakespeare a long time ago when I did an English degree and don’t really have any idea at all.

I mean, why is Romeo changed from a overly serious romantic to a mad slut? What is Othello’s problem with Macbeth and why does he kill him? Why is Falstaff hanging about eating chicken in his pants? And at the end why does the delivery guy put the box on the roof, only for a bust of Shakespeare to jump out Jack In A Box style, not only here but on other tower blocks across the city? All these and many more questions are not answered, that’s for sure.

Also, in the words of Down The Line’s Khalid – “What is point?”. Is it suggesting that if alive today all of Shakespeare’s characters would mainly be interested in fucking, and little else? That the influence of Shakespeare may still be considerable, but most people just think of him as a little bald guy bouncing about? I have no idea, but I hope someone does, and either way I’d cautiously recommend watching the animation as it’s short and weird and not like anything I’ve seen before.

★★1/2

Alex Finch.
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You can watch the short on youtube here.

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