Series Mania 2021: Hamlet or the unfathomable dream of a Lille summer night (review)

Hamlet series mania 2021

The first Turkish series in international competition in the history of the festival has transposed Shakespeare off the coast of Istanbul, without succeeding in taking us with it.

Séries Mania is also the place to discover other cultures, other ways of thinking about television or creation. Often for the better … But Kaan Müjdeci had a hard time speaking to the festival audience. For his first television work, the filmmaker – awarded the Grand Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival with his first feature film Sivas (in 2014) – chose to transpose a literary classic into contemporary Turkey. An adaptation of Hamlet taking place nowadays, on the island of Büyükada off Istanbul. Out of greed, Kadir Kesmeci murders his brother, faking an accident. But Hazar, his niece, hardly believes it and will set up an insane plan to avenge his father …

The series succeeds in a rather clever way in transposing the Shakespearean myth into the world today. We find in this Hamlet 2021 themes so well drawn by the English playwright four centuries ago, as irrefutable proof that the original play (which takes place in Denmark, let us remember) conceals a form of universality, of timelessness. Yes, there is something clever about the way Müjdeci appropriated the story ofHamlet.

But it is almost impossible to get caught up in the game of its adaptation. Both the form is puzzling. The production, almost exclusively with a shoulder camera, is exhausting. Rinse. Use. Extreme close-ups in rugged sequence shots, Hamlet empties us, scene after scene, in the course of a completely disjointed narration, not to say downright unfathomable. The beauty in the photo, which makes a strange and fascinating Turkish culture and folklore shine, is not enough to renew the dialogue with the spectator, lost on the way. A modern dreamlike version that leaves us with the feeling that it has made way too much ado about nothing.

Hamlet, no broadcaster in France for the moment.

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