King Lear makes delayed entrance

Swiss director Jean Luc Godard's film version of King Lear will finally open in France Keystone Archive

A film by Swiss director Jean-Luc Godard is to première in France - 15 years after it was completed.

This content was published on February 16, 2002 - 10:24

Godard's "King Lear" was co-written with US author Norman Mailer and both men have leading roles in a cast that also includes Woody Allen and Mailer's daughter.

The film is set in the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster. After the1986 nuclear explosion, civilisation has been re-built, but mankind's artistic legacy was lost.

One man, William Shakespeare Junior the Fifth, sets about retrieving the works of his famous ancestor. While staying in Switzerland, he encounters the gangster boss Don Learo and his daughter Cordelia.

Backers taken aback

Perhaps not surprisingly, when they saw a working cut of the movie, its original financial backers were taken aback by how little resemblance it bore to the Shakespeare play. At one stage they even threatened to sue him, but shortly afterwards the backers walked away because of their own financial problems.

Years ago, the film had also been criticised by journalists who attended a screening of the working cut, although one of them grudgingly admitted: "There are a few moments of brilliance which cause the intelligent viewer to stop and think."

For years it languished on the shelf, but now the French distribution company Bodega Films has bought the rights, and the première is due to take place in April.

swissinfo with agencies

Articles in this story

This article was automatically imported from our old content management system. If you see any display errors, please let us know:

In compliance with the JTI standards

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

Contributions under this article have been turned off. You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here. Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at

Share this story

Change your password

Do you really want to delete your profile?