Pandaemonium (2000)

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Pandaemonium - the new British movie


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Mari's Tribute to Linus Roache

John Hannah plays: William Wordsworth, British Romantic poet
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Summary: "Set against the political and philosophical convulsions of the late 18th and 19th centuries - the French Revolution, industrialization and the birth of modern science - Coleridge [Linus Roache] and Wordsworth's [John Hannah] appetite for experimentation in poetry rejected the postcard prettiness of established techniques in favour of an intensely personal response to nature.
At a grand reception at London's Guildhall, a crowd eagerly gathers for the appointment of a new Poet Laureate. Amid the chatter, Byron and Southey [Samuel West] ridicule the "exquisitely dull" poetry of Wordsworth, who is sure to be given English poetry's greatest honour. Meanwhile, Coleridge, incapacitated by his opium addiction, makes an ungraceful and noisy entrance.
An embarrassed Wordsworth leads his pitiable friend to an adjoining room, where Coleridge's imaginative journey begins. The impoverished poet is transported back in time to a political rally and a secret printing press where he and his revolutionary friends produced and distributed their controversial underground newspaper. Coleridge suggests that the group of poets create a rural Utopia for a new kind of poetry that will liberate the minds of the people.
The arrival of Wordsworth and his sister, Dorothy [Emily Woof], at Coleridge's small cottage in Somerset heralds the beginning of an inspirational poetic collaboration that ends in deceit and betrayal.
Julien Temple's visual approach to a highly emotional narrative accentuates the spirit rather than the letter of the time. His chiaroscuro tones, dynamic subjective camera angles and startling time ellipses dramatically punctuate Coleridge's psychological state as his world begins to fragment around him. A powerful look at the lives and all-too-human frailties of two of the English language's greatest poets, Pandaemonium is one of those rare films that communicates the passions that drive great writers and intellects."
- Toronto International Film Festival

My thoughts: The film is beautiful and wonderful. I would say it's one of his best. Don't be disappointed, however, by the size of the role. Linus Roache as Coleridge is definitely the star of the picture, but John plays a great supporting role as Wordsworth. Must see - I've already seen it three times!

Pandaemonium News:  It has already been shown in several film festivals, was released in France in April, and will have a limited US release June 29, thanks to USA Films.  PANDAEMONIUM will be released in British cinemas in September 2001.

Last Update: 21 May 2001 by SRAH