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Steven Berkoff plays on film 1


 

 
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TV/ film/ video/ DVD

Coriolanus

A DVD capturing Berkoff´s stage version of Shakespeare's Coriolanus.  Berkoff plays Coriolanus, a hero without the common touch.

Steven Berkoff Coriolanus

Steven Berkoff Coriolanus   Coriolanus Steven Berkoff

 

Decadence 1994

Steven Berkoff Decadence

Berkoff directs himself and Joan Collins is a film version of his own play.

The directing is poor, with Berkoff unable to capture the dynamics of a film, as distinct from the filming of a play. The sharpness of the play and effectiveness of the same couple playing both roles are missing. This film probably removed any possible future work as a film director.

In terms of acting Joan Collins is very good- it would be interesting to see her on stage handle other Berkoff roles- and Berkoff himself has some good moments, particularly in the restaurant scene.

The first choice to play beside Berkoff was Linda Marlowe but the studio rejected her, and they also rejected Miranda Richardson and Helen Mirren (info from here).

Steven Berkoff Decadence

 

East 1999

Berkoff East

A live filming of the 25th anniversary revival at the Vaudeville Theatre, London in November 1999. Berkoff directs but does not act.  Matthew Cullum is Les, Christopher Middleton is Mike, Tanya Frank is Sylv, Jonathan Linsley is dad and Edward Bryant (a man) plays mum.  The play is a definitive performance, with the words and actions blending. The mime is always beautiful and at times spectacular. The sparse music, a piano played by Simon Sharp, is effective.  Recommended.

 

Greek, an opera 1988

Steven Berkoff Greek

An opera by Mark-Anthony Turnage based on Berkoff´s play Greek. As well as a video (now out of print) the opera is available on CD.

The opera works well with the mixture of East London and Greek Mythology fitting under Turnage´s music. If you like modern classical music and opera (as I do) you will like this adaptation.

Turnage says: I just got stuck into cutting Berkoff's play and setting the lines almost as soon as I'd cut them. It was a strange way of working. Greek is a very wordy play, and the language is unbelievable - the opera libretto's tame by comparison. I had to match that language, that extraordinary combination of Shakespeare, colloquial English and cockney, and the sort of seaside humour that suddenly becomes incredibly lyrical.

 

Harry's Christmas 1982

In Free Association Berkoff says "[Harry's Christmas] was commissioned to open the new Limehouse TV studios on the Isle of Dogs".  However because of its subject, suicide, it was never shown.

 

Metamorphosis 1986

Berkoff plays the father in this TV version of his play. Tim Roth is Gregor, with Linda Marlowe as the mother.  Strangely this filming relegates the metal framework of the staging to the background (literally) so removing a lot of the physical acting and energy. The result is a poor stagebound production.Directed by Jim Goddard in 1986.

A site visitor says "Metamorphosis film was very badly acted; the actors were all very naturalistic and were not really very grotesque at all".

 

Salome 1992

Filmed for television in the Ginza Saison Theatre, Tokyo in 1992.  Directed by Berkoff who plays Herod. Salome is played by Myriam Cyr, Herodias by Carmen du Sautoy and Jokanaan (John the Baptist) by Mark Lewis.

Salome is performed in slow motion, characters wafting across stage, as every word is savoured.

Steven Berkoff Salome

The video includes 10 minutes of Berkoff talking of the play "the language is like music and its very unusual to find a play which devotes itself to such intense poetic expression". Strangely Berkoff does not mention that the words are translations, Wilde having written the play in French. Berkoff also says "the play is about passion...conflict...people who love without restrictions.  Recommended.

 

Shakespeare's Villains 2002

Berkoff´s one man show on DVD, directed by Frank Howson (who worked with Berkoff on the film Flynn).  The films differs from the stage performance, omitting most of the Shakespeare performances and concentrating on the (superior) comments by Berkoff.

 

Silent Night

The television version of Harry's Christmas for British Channel 4.

 

The Tell Tale Heart 1991

Berkoff stars in the one-man performance of Poe's story.  A television production for British Channel 4 directed by Jon Felix.

 

The Tell-Tale Heart 2002

Steven Berkoff Tell-Tale Heart

Berkoff´s solo performance of Poe's Tell-Tale Heart is available on video.  It was filmed at the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town in November 2002.  It was shot for the video, with lots of close-ups and playing to the camera.   It also includes a short interview with Steven about the performance.

 

The Trial 2002

Kafka´s The Trial adapted and staged by Berkoff.

Steven Berkoff The Trial

 Steven Berkoff The Trial

 

West 1983

A television production by Berkoff of the play for Channel 4. It was originally commissioned, then rejected, by the BBC.

 

 

Eat Dollink! 2017

Venice Beach and Eat Dolink!

The first of two films directed by Berkoff.  Here Berkoff visits three restaurants, and reminisces about food, particularly Jewish food, his mother and father, Holywood and animal cruelty.

Like a discussion with someone in a restaurant where the discussion moves in and out of topics.

Eat Donnink Canters 

 Eat Dollink Canters

Canter's then and now.

Berkoff and mother 

Berkoff and his mother.

Jewish Star of David 

The importance of food to Jews living in harsh conditions, so whenever there was extra food it would be pickled to preserve it.

Pickles in a plate 

He talks of how his grandfather or father (he was not sure which) changed the name from Berkovich to Berks, a name he hated, so he changed it partially back to Berkoff.

Eat Dollink 

Oliver Cowley did camerawork as well as editing and direction.  The restaurants were Canter's Deli, Greenblatts Deli-Restaurant and Musso and Frank Grill.

 

 

 

Venice Beach 2017

Venice Beach Berkoff

The second of two films Berkoff directed and released in 2017, this concentrates on the poor and homeless in Venice Beach.  1 hour 15 minutes, with Tim Shiner  credited initially as producer, and later as Cameraman and Editor.

Berkoff in Venice Beach

Berkoff has come to Venice Beach every year since 1980 but he regrets it is no longer the seeding ground for new talent, with few performers around (Sebastian Seagraves on tightrope).

Berkoff Venice Beach

Berkoff taks with compassion to the poor and homeless, such as Marc, a former gold miner, with his nose needing medical treatment, and he reveals to a suprised Berkoff that he is blind...

Berkoff Venice Beach

... and Gary who says that now for the homeless like him they have to piss in a pot (to test for drugs) in order to get his benefits.

Berkoff Venice Beach

Most people don't recognise Berkoff, but one group say they heard he was in films, and Berkoff eventually mentions Beverly Hills Cop and Rambo.  One person then says he recognises Berkoff from The Krays.

Berkoff Venice Beach

 

All images from the DVD of the film.

 

 

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