Films & Schedules

  • Teenager Hamlet 2006

  • Margaux Williamson

94 minutes
Colour/Digital Betacam

Production Company:
January Films
Julia Rosenberg
Lee Towndrow
Margaux Williamson
Steven Kado
Principal Cast: Sheila Heti, Sholem Krishtalka

Curated by Steve Gravestock
Presented by Katharine Mulherin Contemporary Art Projects in association with Future Projections

Katharine Mulherin Contemporary Art Projects, September 4 - 13
1082 Queen Street West

Daily 12 -5 pm Screenings 7:30 PM from Sept 5 - 10
Admission is free, but space is limited.
Email [email protected] or call 647.723.6477 to reserve.
Opening September 5, 7 - 10 PM

Thursday September 0412:00PM Katharine Mulheirin Contemporary Art Projects Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist

Margaux Williamson's intriguing, charming Teenager Hamlet 2006 offers a singular take on the Bard's best-known work. Combining a quasi-documentary film/performance piece with materials relating to the production, it will be screened in a setting which Williamson describes as a parallel to mainstream cinema. Many of the elements of the traditional commercial movie experience and process will be present, including popcorn, trailers, evidence of screen tests, a shooting schedule, etc., but a poet will serve the popcorn and the trailer is a little too Dadaist to function as a teaser. The film itself appears to be a behind-the-scenes account of a play that was never staged or a movie that was never shot – at least not in the conventional sense.

Two interviewers follow multiple Ophelias and Hamlets around, asking them questions loosely related to their “roles” but the process quickly evolves into an interrogation about beliefs, feelings and experiences. Almost none of the onscreen subjects are actors; rather, they are artists, poets, writers and musicians (Williamson calls them “aktors”) and there's a feckless, endearing tone to the interviews (several take place on the floor, under counters and kitchen tables). The casting took place at a hipster party on a boat where people were suddenly asked to audition. Eventually, all of these interviews riff off one key concern: is personality itself merely a performance? In a lovely moment, Williamson and a collaborator lie on the grass and ruminate about Hamlet's rather odd decision to coax a confession out of his uncle by mounting a play. The play, or key moments from it, are finally staged in a field, with most of the performers naked in a ceaseless drizzle.

The film and the elements around it pose rather compelling questions. Is a film presentation with all of the conventional elements – but no traditional “movie” – a movie, or not? Is a production of Hamlet a production of Hamlet when there's nary a trace of Shakespearean text to be found? All of this is delivered with a marvellous lack of pretension and a delicate, perfectly winsome tone.

Steve Gravestock

Margaux Williamson was born in Pittsburgh and studied fine arts at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. She is widely recognized as a painter and has exhibited her work internationally, including solo exhibitions in Toronto, New York and Los Angeles. Teenager Hamlet 2006 (08) is her first feature-length video project.

Cadillac People's Choice Award