Production and distribution
King Lear is a 1987 filmic adaptation of the Shakespeare play of the same title, directed by Jean-Luc Godard. The script is primarily by Peter Sellars and Tom Luddy. The film's plot, centred around a late descendant of Shakespeare attempting to restore his plays in a world rebuilding itself after the Chernobyl catastrophe obliterates most of human civilisation, is centred around a resort in Nyon, Vaud, Switzerland.
The New York Times review by Vincent Canby compares Godard's King Lear unfavourably to the rest of Godard's oeuvre as "tired, familiar and out of date", remarking that the few lines of Shakespeare delivered in the play overpower his dialogue, making it "seem much punier than need be". Nonetheless, Canby praises the acting as "remarkably good under terrible circumstances".
Desson Howe of the Washington Post similarly criticises Godard for inappropriately imposing his unique style on Shakespeare's work - "Where the playwright values clarity and poetry, Godard seems to go for obfuscation and banality. Shakespeare aims for universality, while Godard seeks to devalue everything." - whilst reserving praise for the editing and cinematography.
Also commenting in The Washington Post, Hal Hinson classifies the film as a "labored, not terribly funny practical joke", "infuriating, baffling, challenging and fascinating" in which Godard "trashes his own talent".
Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times, however, called it, "a work of certified genius", and Richard Brody, writing in the New Yorker, described it and Godard's In Praise of Love as "great films that are even more aesthetically radical than his earlier ones".
Source : Wikipedia