Tragedy on DVD (Region 1)
Released June 24, 2004, you can order it HERE.
be released in Norway on DVD October 13, 2004 (thanks Bjorn)
BUY THE POSTER!
BUY THE SOUNDTRACK!
BUY THE DVD/VIDEO!
Alex on the Portland Screening
Wednesday 3rd September
I'm in Portland, Oregon, for the US premiere of "Revengers". The Mission Theatre
is the ideal venue: a stalls-and-circle piece of Victoriana with a micro-brew
bar in the back. Not only is this the film's first paying US show, it is also
a benefit for a local HIV charity, and the occasion of the First Annual Eddie
Izzard Portland Film Retrospective. The event is sold out, perhaps in anticipation
of the arrival of Ed, and a raffle of various 'Items That He Has Touched'. And
indeed, Eddie graciously attends. He has a stand-up gig in Portland tonight and
three over the weekend in Seattle - by coincidence the next destination of the
film. I retire, jetlagged. Apparently Ed returned after his show to do an impromptu
Q&A at the second "Revengers" screening. The man is a trouper.
Thursday 4th September
Steve and I take the train from Portland to Seattle, through some extraordinary
countryside. I shoot all the bridges the train passes over; metal struts flashing
past outside the window, rivers and mountain ranges beyond. It's all good stuff
for transitions in future mini DV films. Over the broadband at the hotel, I get
my marching orders from this website! After months of searching, BBCi Films has
found a replacement for this particular director, and the next week's offering
will be my last. I throw myself upon the bed, drenching my pillows in tears. (Thoughts
of an angry not-so-young British novel well up: Alexis, an-approaching fifty-something
seventy-five-pound-a-week web logger, loses his only regular employment, and embarks
upon a voyage of discovery / vengeance trail / trip to the dole office... CUT
TO: Arizona Highway / Chainsaw Section of Rapid Hardware / DSS queue.) In reality
it's good - no, really. New blood, and all that. It's been a laugh. And, having
got used to it, I reckon I'll continue to post something weekly on my website,
if only to compete with the wife, who's publishing her diary now at The Exterminating
Friday 5th September
The Seattle paper has a very nice review of "Revengers Tragedy", as do both
the weekly papers. Eddie and Carla Henry are singled out for praise. Humming gaily,
I walk down sunlit colonnades to my lovely hotel where I write three Buñuel pieces
which I've long owed the BFI. As I'm firing them off, I receive an email from
Chase, the New York Scouser who directed "On the Nod". Chase says Anthony Minghella
has just called his producer and asked to see their script. Their feature project
is called "The American". I hope to see it reviewed here before too long. The
8.30pm screening at The Grand Illusion Cinema is - how to put this? - spartanly
attended. But the 11pm "Revengers" show, which Eddie attends, is completely packed.
Weeping acolytes are turned away. Tonight, Eddie wears false breasts, a white
t-shirt declaring that he is 'SEXIE', and a mini-skirt. It's the first time I've
seen him in drag.
Saturday 6th September 2003
The same thing happens at The Grand Illusion this evening. There is a modest
turn-out for the early shows, sans Eddie. And a sell-out crowd shouting "Whoa!"
and "Yea!" when Ed is there. I start going through the phone book, looking for
Celebrity Lookalike Casting Agents. I must hire Eddie Izzard impersonators. If
I can book one for every screening of "Revengers Tragedy", the film's American
success will be assured!
A Fan's Perspective
So I went to the screening of "Revenger's Tragedy" on Saturday, the late show
in Seattle where Eddie & Alex Cox made an appearance. Thought I'd pass along a
few observations in case anyone else reading this gets a similar opportunity.
Eddie, in what I thought was an admirable decision not to let the evening
be just about him, announced he'd just answer questions about the film. Anything
about the film (story, actors, location, special effects, etc) got a thoughtful
and/or funny answer. He and Alex tag-teamed a bit; Alex is also a funny person.
But every minute or so, someone in the audience had to pipe up, "I have a
message for you from my friend in _______", "Can I have a hug?", etc... etc...
Each of these comments fell into the room with a clunk that was almost audible.
And to every single one of them, Eddie responded, (politely at first, then with
a more pissed-off edge to his voice as people didn't take the hint) something
along the lines of "well, that's about my gig and not this film, so I can't address
that." or simply, "No!"
So my advice to anyone who attends a future screening like this is, keep Eddie's
rule in mind and think of creative or funny questions about the film. You will
be rewarded with an answer instead of a rebuff and scorn from the audience. You
might even make Eddie laugh at something you've said, which is a lovely payback
Catch it if you can!
3 September MISSION THEATRE Portland, Oregon
5-12 September The GRAND ILLUSION Seattle, Washington
13 September in EURO SPACE Tokyo, Shibuya
Revengers Coming to the US?
From Alex Cox's Diary:
Doesn't seem like it will make the west coast run but will probably play Seattle
and Oregon. No official word yet about the Retrospective Film Festival but here
is a rather amusing diary entry from Alex Cox:
A couple of years ago, I directed a feature called "Revengers Tragedy" (recounted
in previous diaries). I was lucky to be directing a film that really was mine:
an idea I had nurtured and pursued for years, finally brought to the screen. But
what they don't tell you at film school is that if you are a director you may
spend six months to a year making a film, but you will then spend between one
and two years promoting it.
Since "Revengers Tragedy" was finished, 18 months have passed. During that
time I've paid for and maintained the website, attended at least 20 screenings
and Q&A sessions, travelled all over the world and done maybe 100 interviews.
In other words, on a modestly-budgeted independent feature, a director works
for a modest salary for nine months, and then works 18 months for free.
Why am I telling you this? Am I so downhearted that I must actually unburden
myself in this embarrassing and public way?
Actually, no. I'm actually quite chuffed. The reason is; on Wednesday I
was up to my neck in work promoting the US release of "Revengers" and on Thursday
I was not.
After The Film Council and Pathé agreed to our US distribution proposal
for "Revengers", Tod and I assumed that the other investor would accept it as
well. But because we didn't want to get in any deeper into distribution without
their agreement (and because Tod's just written a script and I have been asked
to direct it!) we gave them a deadline of Thursday to respond.
The financiers ignored the deadline. It was too late to cancel the screenings
in Portland and Seattle, so we must still make sure they receive prints and publicity
materials and absorb the cost of that. But we were able to shut the rest of the
US distribution down.
As a rule, you don't make money from the theatrical distribution of an
independent film. You put it in the cinema because the opening brings reviews
from the major newspapers. These reviews, if they're good, can be put on the video
box and the DVD cover. And this translates into a more enthusiasm and a better
price when one makes a sale to the DVD distributor, or to TV.
So from a business point of view a cinema release in a major market is a
common sense thing to do. Not to have one means the film will be worth less, and
will be seen by fewer people. Why then am I glad that we aren't having one?
Because missing our deadline meant that the financiers didn't think it was
worth observing. Which suggests to me they have a rather low opinion of us. (The
So we withdrew our offer, and I contacted Liverpool-based producer Sol Papadopoulos
to say I'd be available to direct "I'm a Juvenile Delinquent - Jail Me!", based
on Tod's screenplay, in September. Today my esteemed business partner finally
broke the news to me that one of these financiers (not The Film Council) had objected
to our taking the "Revengers Tragedy" website offline in protest against the Iraqi
To this financier I say, and to anyone who doesn't like political content
on film-related websites, you'd better avoid www.revengerstragedy.com, starting
You can read the full entry here
(August 18, 2003)
The Film Council have re-considered, and have told us that they are prepared
to let Exterminating Angel distribute "Revengers Tragedy" on the west coast of
the US, as mentioned two diaries ago. This is very sensible of them and - though
there isn't a lot of time left - if the other financiers are willing, we can still
give it a go. Regardless, the excellent Steve Tenhonen is forging ahead with the
First Annual Eddie Izzard Retrospective Film Festival in Portland, Oregon, to
coincide with Ed's appearance there on 2nd September. (August 11, 2003)
"Next day a train to Reading, a bus to Heathrow, and a plane to the States,
in connection with the "Revengers Tragedy" West Coast tour. The idea is that -
thanks to the efforts of the valiant Steve Tenhonen, who runs a cinema in Portland
- Exterminating Angel will bus a couple of prints around from LA and San Diego
to Seattle and Vancouver, taking in other cultured and collegial cities en route.
We've offered to pay for the prints and publicity, and to try to time it to coincide
with The Eddie Izzard Conquers America! tour. In return, we've proposed a 50-50
split of all US revenues with the investors. Pathe, our sales agents, are in favour
of this, since a release in the cinema inevitably translates into reviews from
newspaper magazines, and - ideally - a better price for the TV rights and DVD,
and better sales of the latter. (Tod secretly hopes the investors will say no
to our proposal since the tour is bound to be a lot of work and a drain on our
energies and resources. She thinks we should shut down the website, forget about
the US theatrical, and move on to other things. For some reason - probably the
UCLA screening in December - I think the movie might have a life in the US, and
that it's worth the attempt.)
Later in the week Tod and I receive the news that, in spite of Pathe's enthusiasm,
the Film Council and their co-investors won't go for our proposal. Which is a
pity, and perhaps a tad myopic. How often does one of their directors offer to
fund and arrange a US theatrical distribution for one of their films? I call Steve
in Portand, and tell him. He's a bit down, since he's put a fair bit of work in,
and most of the cinemas were pretty keen. But it means that Tod and I can at last
put "Revengers" behind us, be shut of that pesky website, and concentrate on new
things." (July 28, 2003)
"I am now in my second year of unpaid promotion of the thing - and the
US release is still four months down the line!"
(July 8, 2003)
Revengers in Vancouver
Revengers Tragedy will screen in Vancouver at the Revenger's Tragedy
on July 12, 2003 as part of the CINAMUERTE
INTERNATIONAL HORROR FILM FESTIVAL. (thanks Diana)
The Dome Cinema Hosts Alex Cox
The Dome Cinema (Worthing, West Sussex, UK) will host THE DIRECTOR’S
CHAIR, a series of special events for film enthusiasts, starting with THE REVENGERS
TRAGEDY on Sunday 30th March, 2003 at 3 pm.
Joining us on 30th March is the film’s director, ALEX COX. He
will be answering questions about this film, and about his impressive backlist
of work, which includes writing and direction for films such as ‘Sid & Nancy’,
‘Repo Man’, ‘Death & The Compass’ and ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’.
Tickets for the afternoon cost £15, to include full afternoon
tea, and £10 for the film and discussion only. All proceeds from the event will
go to the Dome Regeneration Appeal, which is trying to raise £150,000 to carry
out essential restoration work on the Dome’s 1911 building. Booking is essential;
either call in to see us in person, or ring the box office on (01903) 823112.
Please note that afternoon tea starts at 3 pm prompt; those attending for the
film and discussion need only to arrive at 4 pm. You can get more info HERE.
Bradford Film Festival Honors Alex Cox
FILM FESTIVAL (Bradford, West Yorkshire, UK) will honor Alex Cox at this year's
festival with a viewing of some of his greatest movies including: Revengers Tragedy,
Sid and Nancy, Repo Man, Death and the Compass, Edge City, Emanuelle: a Hard Look,
Highway Patrolman, Straight to Hell and others. The festival runs from March 14-29,
2003. Ticket info is HERE.
"It's always nice when the eccentrics show up..."
Alex Cox talking about how fun it was filming Revengers Tragedy:
"It really was fun. Basically I think it all came from the brothers - Ambitioso
(Justin Salinger), Lussurisoso (Eddie Izzard), and Supervacuo (Marc Warren). You
know, it's saying something when Eddie Izzard is the normal one! They really tried
to outdo each other. Justin Salinger showed up one day with a pink cowboy hat
on and everyone else got really annoyed because somehow he'd managed to get the
pink cowboy hat. So that was very amusing. It's always nice when the eccentrics
You can read the REST
OF THE ARTICLE and enter to win a various Revengers goodies!
CULT film director Alex Cox is coming to Edinburgh for a talk and special screening
of his new movie in a city cinema. The maker of films such as Sid and Nancy and
Repo Man will host a question and answer session at the Filmhouse after the 7.45pm
screening of Revengers Tragedy on Saturday, February 15, 2003 . Christopher Eccleston,
Derek Jacobi, Eddie Izzard and Sophie Dahl feature in the all-star cast of the
movie, which is billed as a "Jacobean horror-comedy about family, love, revenge
and the criminal aristocracy" set in 2011. Cox, the presenter of the BBC cult
film series Moviedrome, was in Edinburgh last August for the world premiere of
Revengers Tragedy at the city’s film festival.
You can now download a Revengers Tragedy
STUDY GUIDE that's being used in some UK schools in conjunction with the film.
It's a .pdf file so you'll need the Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Congratulations to Revenger's Tragedy for winning "BEST BRITISH FILM of 2003"
at Birmingham Film Festival!! Also some new dates:
- Black Nights Film Festival - Estonia Gonsiori 27 EE10147 Tallinn,
Estonia 5th and 8th of December
- Liverpool PREMIERE new date! 21 Febuary 2003 at the FACT
- Opens 14th Febuary Curzon, Soho and around UK
From Alex Cox's Diary
To the Edinburgh Film Festival, for the UK premiere of "Revengers Tragedy".
Actor Eddie Izzard, producers Margaret Matheson and Tod, and cinematographer Len
Gowing are present for the screening, which goes quite well. A full house of approximately
250 people. I sit at the back and count the non-returning walk-outs, of whom there
Afterwards, we repair to Ed's hotel for a rather grand dinner for 20 in the
Lower Dining Room. The white wine flows like, er... fill in appropriate flow metaphor...
and I have many delightful conversations, the exact details of which elude me
the following morning.
But I do not forget that we have taken vows to kit ourselves out appropriately
for our press conference and photo call. So the next day, after a brief visit
to BBC Radio Scotland, we head for the kilt shop on Princes St.
Selecting the correct Scotsman's outfit is a tricky process. Our shopping
adviser Kevin, tells us that Sean Connery is always kitted out in full-dress black-evening-wear-and-kilt,
but that this doesn't go down well with discerning locals at a midday function.
"Of course, he's Sean Connery, so I reckon he thinks he can pull it off," says
Kevin, eyeing us closely. We opt for day-wear. Eddie goes for the lower half only
(kilt plus donkey jacket); I opt for the full whack, including green tie and tweed
Rather disappointingly, health and safety laws don't permit Kevin to rent
us real daggers to stick in our socks. We make do with plastic substitutes, which
are replaced with Swiss army knives at the first opportunity. I don't know if
the kilts make any difference at the press conference, but they are certainly
a hit at the preceding photo call. Though modestly we resist the invitations to
'give us a twirl.'
When I return to the kilt joint to settle up (Ed has been kind enough to invite
all 20 of us to dinner, so it seems only right that I should spring for his kilt),
Kevin informs me, "of course if you were to buy a kilt today the hire would be
free...". Unable to resist what appears to be a bargain, I spend the next two
hours modelling a variety of kilts for Tod and Margaret. I'm keen on the Matheson
tartan, but Tod - unaware perhaps of the terrible slight to her fellow producer!
- ain't. I finally go for the Pride of Scotland, a bright purple tartan which
I wear on the train back.
We both contrive to trap our fingers in the sliding doors of the brand-new
Branson tilting Pendolino train to Preston. After a half hour wait in that charming
place, we catch the last yellow Arriva train to Lime St. It is full of exhausted,
mardy children, in the charge of smelly, drunken grown-ups who keep hitting them
and then apologising: a grisly, Hogarthian scene. Welcome home!
Speaking of festivals, I would like to thank the organisers of the Edinburgh
and Cambridge festivals for their very kind invitations, and the lovely screenings
of our film.
I'd like to thank the organisers of the Chichester film festival too, for
their forthcoming screening on 5th September - but I do have one request: would
they please stop saying on their website and in press releases that I'm coming
to do a Question & Answer session at the screening? Unfortunately (as the distributors
have told them) I have a meeting in Paris on 5th September seeking money for "Helltown".
I've emailed the festival about this, but have had no reply. Sorry about the confusion.
I hope the screening goes well, and apologies to anyone (Sid and Doris Bonkers?)
who may be planning to attend the imaginary Q&A.
Revengers Ties for Eighth Place
Standard Life Audience Award /Edinburgh Film Fest
THU 22 AUG
1. Rabbit Proof Fence
2. Out Of Control
4. The Guru
5. All Or Nothing
6. This Is Not A Love Song
7. Morvern Callar
8. 8 Women / Revengers Tragedy / One Hour Photo
9. Once Upon A Time In The Midlands
About the Award
Sponsored by Standard Life, this award is potentially the most interesting to
Film Festival goers as the winner is chosen by audience vote (you are given a
voting slip as you take your seats in the cinema), from films in the Gala and
British Gala sections. The Standard Life Audience Award was the first to be chosen
solely by the audience, and celebrates mainstream cinema: narrative skill, characterisation,
suspense, spectacle and comedy. Previous winners of this award have included Peter
Cattaneo's The Full Monty, Wim Wender's Buena Vista Social Club and Stephen Daldry's
Billy Elliot. Last year's winner was Jean-Pierre Jeunet's widely acclaimed Amelie.
More stars expected at Edinburgh Film Festival
Rhys Ifans, Robert Carlyle and Eddie Izzard have been added to the list of
stars expected at the Edinburgh
International Film Festival. Ifans and Carlyle will be joined by Shirley Henderson
to help promote their new film Once Upon A Time In The Midlands. Izzard will be
promoting his new film Revengers Tragedy. The Film Festival takes place between
August 14 and 25. (from ananova.com)
Eddie at Locarno
(click on pic to enlarge or click here
for really HUGE photos)
Tragedy Festival Dates
04, Oslo (February 27. – March 4. 2004)
International Film Festival (January 13.-18. 2004)
Film Festival (May 16, 2003 @8pm and May 18 @1pm)
Film Festival (1900 hrs Friday 12 July)
Film Festival (August 1-11)
Film Festival (Cameo 1, 2100 hrs Wednesday 21 August)
FilmFestival (Cameo 2, 2130 hrs Saturday 24 August)
Film Festival (Sept. 5, 8.30)
International Film Festival
Interview with Alex Cox
(from the Locarno site/ thanks Spoot!)
Blood on the Mersey Sex, revenge and
torture in downtown Liverpool
Alex Cox (Repo Man, Sid & Nancy) returned to his home town of Liverpool to
make a bloodcurdling modern-day adaptation of Jacobean stage classic, The Revengers'
Tragedy (screening in Locarno's Competition.)
What about Liverpool made you want to shoot there?
I am from Liverpool. I shot a film there four years ago, called Three Businessmen,
and thought that, along with Mexico City, it is just about the ideal place to
be making films. Now I've made two features there and think it's doubly so!
Is Jacobean revenge tragedy relevant to contemporary audiences?
We are the same people as they were. And the language of the Jacobeans is much
closer to ours than even Shakespeare's. There was a political and cultural shake-out
when Elizabeth Tudor died, and the Jacobean playwrights had a lot more freedom
(in the sense that they were less likely to be dragged away and tortured, like
Kyd, or murdered by government agents, like Marlowe.) This helps the artist.
Were you surprised that a public funding body like The Film Council's was prepared
to get behind the project? No. Revengers is a British classic and a risky piece
which no studio would have the balls to attempt. It is just the sort of project
the Film Council should be doing, and I am very glad they went for it.
Why did you cast Sophie Dahl (a model and society figure) in Revengers Tragedy?
The casting was by Gary Davy, who was stage manager of the Royal Shakespeare's
brilliant production of Revengers atthe Swan in 1987. And Sophie does the best
cod-Lady-Diana I have ever seen. Do you still have ties with the Mexican industry?
I would love to make more films in Mexico but the industry is currently devoted
to yuppie comedies, which cuts the really good directors - Arturo Ripstein, Luis
Estrada, et al - out of the picture. These things are cyclical, though, and I'm
sure some beefier, more political features are on the way.
What's happened to your long-gestating Bunuel project which Javier Bardem was
to star in?
Bardem dropped out and I am instead going to make it with glove puppets.
What are you working on now?
I'm doing a Japanese detective series called Mike Yokohama starring Masatoshe
Nagase. I may make a film called Digital Jesus - a drama about cyber-terrorism
- in New York at the end of this year; and, if I'm very lucky, a film called Helltown
starring Michael Madsen, Dennis Hopper and Eddie Izzard in 2003. Plus Women Beware
Women and the Bunuel glove-puppet biopic. (gm)
Sheila Johnston in Locarno
06 August 2002
Dir: Alex Cox. UK. 2002. 112mins.
UK film-maker Alex Cox first came across Thomas Middleton's Jacobean revenge
tragedy as a student in 1976, when he was intrigued by its very modern blend of
morbid comedy and ultra-violence. His long-planned screen version is steeped in
a 1970s anarcho-punk sensibility, with Derek Jarman a striking influence on its
satirical and apocalyptic elements (Jubilee, The Last of England) and irreverent
anachronisms (Edward II, Caravaggio). The result has a slightly dated feel: its
rebellious mood might have been perfect for Queen Elizabeth's Silver Jubilee in
1977, but looks less representative of Blairite, Golden Jubilee Britain, perhaps
partly due to Cox's long absence from the country. Still its timeless themes,
the wealth of visual invention and the director's dedicated admirers should secure
the film a cult following.
As with Baz Luhrman's Romeo + Juliet, the stylised futuristic setting and lively,
lucid treatment of a byzantine play - long neglected but now back on the cultural
map, thanks to two stage revivals by the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1966 and
1987 - could also work well in educational contexts. However, the Liverpool accents
and extravagant period language may present difficulties, particularly for US
Set in 2011, the film's premise is that southern England has been destroyed
by a comet, leaving the North ravaged by gang warfare and urban decay. Revengers
Tragedy (there is no apostrophe, in compliance, according to Cox, with the play's
original 1607 title page) begins with the arrival in Liverpool of a mysterious
stranger, Vindici (Christopher Eccleston), whose bride - a flashback reveals -
was poisoned on their wedding day 10 years earlier. The killer was the degenerate
Duke (Derek Jacobi), a Londoner who now rules the city and his five children with
an iron hand.
This dynasty is a rum lot. One son is having an affair with the Duke's wife
(Diana Quick). Another rapes a beautiful blonde aristocrat (supermodel Sophie
Dahl) whose subsequent death and canonisation - to the political advantage of
her widower - invites pointed parallels with Princess Diana. Completing the line-up
is the Duke's spoiled, lascivious heir, Lussurioso (Eddie Izzard).
The family is contrasted with Vindici's own: his brother, a virtuous sister,
who Lussurioso is bent on seducing, and their blind mother (Margi Clarke) who
proves vulnerable to corruption. Meanwhile Vindici himself has embarked on a plan
to eliminate the Duke and his clan by ingeniously sadistic methods.
With its mix of outrageous farce and spectacular bloodshed, Revengers Tragedy
bears a passing similarity to the recent cycle of British gangster movies. However,
Middleton's corrosive vision of a society obsessed with power, sex and money lends
it a moral gravitas that - unlike many of these films - stops it ballooning into
Among an effective cast, Eccleston's manic avenger and the silky, heavily made-up
Jacobi are worthy antagonists. Meanwhile Izzard, a comedian-turned-actor whose
dramatic talent has been steadily evolving, has a strong screen presence and -
with the actors playing his four siblings - brings out the play's absurdist streak.
The film looks grungy but distinctive on a tight budget, with an eclectic design
dominated by punk and glam-rock laced with historical and Middle East detail and
an emphasis on tattoos, piercings and extravagant make-up - Izzard sports the
strangest false eyelashes since Malcolm McDowell's in A Clockwork Orange. The
omnipresent throbbing score by anarcho pop band Chumbawumba is over-used but ratchets
up the general atmosphere of menace.
Review from Cambridge Site
THE REVENGERS TRAGEDY
Reviewer: Mike, St Ives
A real cinematic treat, this film takes a play published in 1607 and transposes
it to a strange modern(ish) world. Cox's direction is brilliantly inventive, giving
the film a fast-paced anarchic feel that never becomes just a showy veneer. The
stylised langauge and the modern visuals work very well. Christopher Eccleston
as the "revenger" is superb, as is Derek Jacobi (as you've never seen him before!).
From blog site Tallpoppy.org
Revenger's Tragedy was also excellent. Nice post-apocalyptic Liverpool setting
(an all-Liverpool production, apparantly), reasonable amount of bloodshed, Eddie
Izzard as an evil heir. A few people in the post-viewing Q&A compared it to A
Clockwork Orange, but I think that a more valid comparison is Derek Jarman's classic
punk film Jubilee. Heck, even the costuming was similar (Jubilee had Adam Ant,
Revenger's Tragedy had Eddie Izzard dressed as Adam Ant). After the film, the
director (Alex Cox) did a stupendously annoying Q&A. In 45 minutes, we learned
precisely two interesting things, and sat through (at my count) four extended
diatribes about how great a place Liverpool was and why everyone should try and
make movies there. The two useful things we learned was that the play was one
of the first examples of black comedy in English (and that really came through
in the movie), and that the soundtrack (by Chumbawumba) came about when the director
got narked at being bounced by Radiohead's management and emailed Chumbawumba
to see if they'd want to do it. They replied that afternoon, and lo. Worth it,
though - the soundtrack was absolutely excellent, and I'd definitely buy it if
it comes out.
"Customer Review" from Cambridge Film Fest
THE REVENGERS TRAGEDY
Cambridge Date: 14/07/2002
Anarchistic approach to Middleton’s play, cementing Liverpool’s architectural
reputation as a decaying grandiose ruin. As a fan of Cox and Liverpool, watching
this film was a treat. Every five minutes is a fresh Liverpool landmark from the
Liver Buildings, to Happy Al’s Buses to occasional swipes at Liverpool Club culture.
Black pantomime comedy is rarely this lethal or fun. Cox clearly injected amphetamine
into his cast to add frothing mania to the already grungy cinematography. Christopher
Ecclestone thrashes and raves, virtually self combusting in talent. As Vindice
he is the returning revenger seeking to obliterate the Duke for the nuptial poisoning
of his wife. Using her desiccated but hirsute skull, Ecclestone communes emotion
that you sometimes fear Punch and Judy could erupt into, baying for revenge through
her clenched teeth. Old hands Derek Jacobi and Antony Booth as the Duke and Lord
Antonio also impress as rivals politicians. Eddie Izzard doesn’t.
Mixing contemporary Scouse with Middleton’s original text, Frank Cottrell
Boyce, handles the classic ‘Ah Fuck Off’ as a delightful parry to the occasional
Middleton line. This encapsulates Liverpool’s reaction to authority well. Following
the trend of mixing the contemporary and the old, the film is shot in both celluloid
and digital, deliberately highlighting their discrepancies. Meticulously celluloid
set pieces mingle with filtered hyper real vistas. Stylistically, the apocalypse
may have been and gone, but as always Liverpool remains. The Protestant Cathedral
exemplifies this; a gothic cathedral hewn of bricks at the opening of the twentieth
century. Clothing alternates between cat walk chic to hooded medieval, all glimpsed
through the contemporary. Of all the cultural mixing on display the use of daggers
fails badly, reminding the reviewer of theatre cast offs.
Ideas crackle throughout, overwhelming proceedings on occasion. Continual surveillance
style digital shots supply a sense of jumble but little else. Commencing the film
with a satellite zoom does little but let the audience rattle their jewellery
(in Cambridge at least) to the dominant Chumbawumba soundtrack. Merseyside is
indeed distinctive from orbit. Superior by light-years is the Dina motif, played
on the rape induced suicide of the Lord Antonio’s Wife. In anarchistic style Vindice
beheads a commemorative teddy bear using its body as an affectionate body for
his wife’s skull. Naturally Antonio benefits from his wife’s deification.
The Revengers Tragedy is a flash of fresh British cinema that will probably
not receive the release it deserves. REVENGE.
Revenger in line for film awards
Izzard, Outhwaite and Carlyle films in line for awards at Edinburgh New films
starring Eddie Izzard, Tamzin Outhwaite and Robert Carlyle will be competing for
the Best British Feature award at this year's Edinburgh International Film Festival.
Izzard stars in Revengers Tragedy, and Outhwaite in Out Of Control. Shane Meadows'
Once Upon A Time In The Midlands stars Carlyle. Also competing are Mike Leigh's
All Or Nothing and Lynne Ramsey's Morvern Callar. Ten films are eligible for the
award, which is given to films of imagination and creativity. Other awards at
the festival include the new director's award and the audience award. (from ananova.com)
Revenger's will premiere in Liverpool at the Philharmonic Theatre on September
15, 2002 (all proceeds will benefit local educational charities). The film opens
in Britain in October 2002. More precise dates will follow closer to the openings.
No mention of an overseas release yet.
From director, Alex Cox's online diary: "A conversation with
Tony James of City Screen distributors regarding "Revengers", which has been invited
to the Cambridge Festival. He'd prefer to screen it in the second week of the
Festival so that I can participate in a debate on 35mm vs. digital projection,
but for reasons shortly to be revealed, my preference is earlier... We horse trade
and settle on Friday 12 September, at 1900 hrs, for the Cambridge "Revengers"
premiere (I promise a diatribe against digital projection on the night). Yer all
invited. " You can read the whole article here.
SCREENED (courtesy of the official
REVENGERS TRAGEDY SCREENS IN LIVERPOOL 24 Feb 2002
"Apologies for my failure to contribute much to this site of late. I've been
in the final stages of post on REVENGERS TRAGEDY, which is now, at last, finished.
The cast and crew screening took place last night, at the Crosby Plaza, Liverpool's
number one venue for art cinema." - Alex Cox
(courtesy of the official site)
"Ten years ago, the Duke (DEREK JACOBI) murdered Vindici's wife on their
wedding day. Vindici (CHRISTOPHER ECCLESTON) fled. His family fell into poverty,
while the Duke, Duchess (DIANA QUICK) and their decadent sons acquired wealth
Today, Vindici returns.
With the help of his brother Carlo (ANDREW SCHOFIELD), he sets about the destruction
of the Duke and his entire clan. But it will not be easy. The Duke is well-protected;
and his villainous first-born, Lussurioso (EDDIE
IZZARD), is determined to seduce Vindici's sister -- Castiza (CARLA HENRY).
When the Duke's youngest son is imprisoned for the rape of a beautiful aristocrat,
Imogen (SOPHIE DAHL), Vindici sees an opportunity to test his mother and his sister,
and to secure his revenge."
(from TimeOut Magazine -- thanks Mimi!)
STILLS FROM THE MOVIE
Japanese Poster (click for larger view)
Liverpool gets new role as Hollywood of the north
Scouse cameras in action - city's architecture and moods, from grandeur to squalor,
make it a prime location for film-makers By James Morrison 19 August 2001
The docks are idle, the factories are silent, and the film-makers are moving
in. Liverpool is reinventing itself as a major player in the British film industry.
Drawn by the sheer variety of locations on offer, from urban squalor to Georgian
grandeur, more than a dozen directors have chosen to film in Liverpool in the
past three years. Now, more than 30 years after Gumshoe, the classic Albert Finney
thriller, gave it its first big screen claim to fame, the city is set to get its
first major studio.
Merseyside is already attracting some of the most glamorous names in Hollywood,
defying the endless jokes about shell suits and bubble perms. The city's docklands
were used earlier this year as part of the backdrop to 51st State, a big budget
thriller featuring Pulp Fiction actor Samuel Jackson and Robert Carlyle.
Although set in Manchester, The Parole Officer, a new comic thriller starring
comedian Steve Coogan, was largely filmed in Liverpool.
Period locations around the port including Abercromby Square, George's Dock
and the Walker Art Gallery stood in for five different European cities in Hilary
and Jackie, the Oscar-nominated biopic of cellist Jacqueline Du Pré.
A science fiction epic based on a Jacobean tragedy and a Billy Elliot-style
coming-of-age drama are just two of the numerous projects in varying stages of
production in and around the city.
The forthcoming films include My Kingdom, a contemporary version of King Lear
set in the Liverpool underworld, Al's Lads, a 1920s thriller about cruise ship
workers who are hired by Al Capone, and Mermaid and Money Trouble, a social drama
expected to star Dame Judi Dench.
Liverpool is the only city outside London to have its own dedicated local authority
film office. Film-makers say they are drawn to the city not only by its wide variety
of settings, but also their growing frustration with the logistical problems of
filming in London. Unlike the capital, Liverpool does not suffer from severe traffic
congestion, and many of its most dramatic and photogenic locations are within
a short distance of each other.
Producers are also lured by the bedrock of local technical expertise, and the
presence of accomplished television hands such as Cracker writer Jimmy McGovern
and director Chris Bernard, whose 1986 film A Letter to Brezhnev was one of the
first to be shot in the city.
The latest feature to finish filming is Revengers Tragedy, a £1.7m film directed
by Cox, which transposes Thomas Middleton's 17th-century play to post-apocalyptic
Merseyside. The film, which received £500,000 from the Film Council's new cinema
fund, boasts an eclectic cast, including actors Christopher Eccleston and Derek
Jacobi, comedians Eddie Izzard and Margi Clarke and supermodel Sophie Dahl.
Among the more unlikely locations used in the film, which wrapped on Friday,
is Aintree racecourse and a field filled with futuristic dwellings resembling
Cox was drawn back to Liverpool by what he describes as the city's "epic"
qualities and the rather more mundane fact that its relatively low living
costs enabled him to stretch his tight food and accommodation budget.
The director, whose earlier films included cult classics Repo Man and Sid and
Nancy, said: "All the sets are very weird and epic, but then the city itself
is epic in many ways too."
Eccleston, whose previous films include Jude, saw the project as a chance to
illustrate the cinematic qualities of northern cities such as Liverpool, while
escaping from the "Hollywood-obsessed" approach of London. The actor,
who plays the lead character, vengeful peasant Vindici, said: "There's a
different attitude up here to filming. There seems to be more camaraderie and
less looking after number one, which means there's a great deal more humour on
Cox recently teamed-up with television producer Colin McKeown, one of the creators
of Brookside, to form the Liverpool Film Consortium. The initiative, which aims
to pave the way for the city's first fully equipped film studio, currently has
19 projects in development, including a submarine drama called The Foetus and
The Cameo Conspiracy, based on a real-life rough justice case.
McKeown, who operates out of a disused school, believes that Liverpool could
one day have studio facilities to rival those at Pinewood and Ealing. "What's
going to happen here over the next four or five years is that it's just going
to get bigger and bigger. I feel confident that we will soon see the big American
films coming over for post-production."
London film commissioner Sue Hayes said she was delighted that Liverpool was
attracting more inward investment from producers, but added: "You can go
to Liverpool to shoot docklands and cobbled streets, but there's an awful lot
you can't do there, which is why so many people come to London."
Derek Jacobi and Eddie Izzard have been lined up to star in Alex Cox's new film,
A modern update of the 1607 play attributed to either Thomas Middleton or Cyril
Tourneur, the screenplay by Frank Cottrell Boyce depicts a futuristic clan war
between Liverpool and London.
Derek Jacobi is lined up to play a villainous duke, and Eddie Izzard will play
Lussorioso, his son.
Writing in a weekly diary about the film's production for BBC Films Online,
Cox described Lussurioso as the "second most nefarious character of the film".
He also described Derek Jacobi as having the ability to play an "exceptionally
depraved and threatening Duke".
Liverpool born and bred, Alex Cox's film making career includes Repo Man, Sid
and Nancy, and Straight to Hell.
He has also written a number of screenplays and directed documentaries including
Kurosawa, The Last Emperor, and Emmanuelle, A Hard Look, for Channel Four.
He is however best known for presenting the BBC's late night film showcase,
Moviedrome from 1987 to 1994.
The cast is also set to include Margi Clarke, Christine Tremarco, Christopher
Ecclestone, Tony Booth, Dexter Fletcher and Drew Schofield - aka Johnny Rotten
from Sid and Nancy.
The film is being part funded by the Film Council's new cinema fund, which
Cox has described as the "weird film division".
With a plot that involves the south of England and northern France being destroyed
by a giant comet Cox has promised that the film will indeed be "weird enough".
Shooting is scheduled to begin in July.
Alex Cox's diary can be read weekly on BBC Films Online.
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