This delightful/fun/meticulously-researched documentary reveals why 'Shakspere from Stratford’ isn't author of "Shakespeare."
Watch the official 3 minute trailer for the film, "SHAKESPEARE: The Truth Behind The Name." A Christina di Marlo Film (Robin Phillips' pen-name). The full feature-length documentary will premiere following international film festival competitions. 171 awards to date!
MACO Project Film Festival - Los Angeles/New York, April 29,2021
A Review of "SHAKESPEARE: Behind The Name, Power, Lust, Scorn & Scandal"
Shakespeare may seem like a dry topic – after all, haven’t there been a million documentaries and adaptations of his work already? – but Phillips' film is anything but boring. She brings an exciting theatricality to the documentary, charmingly delivering various facts about both the alleged tradesman-turned-poet William Shaksper and the more probable poet Edward de Vere.
Throughout the piece, she chimes a bell or a gong whenever a contradiction is uncovered, and it’s a wonderfully sassy way to present these academic misconceptions. Truly, Phillips' performance is the linchpin of the documentary, maybe even more so than the subject matter itself. There’s so much whimsy in her narration, like in the ways she chimes in with an “I don’t think sooooo!” after reading an apparent lie about Shakespeare’s humble beginnings. She also wears several extravagant outfits as the doc progresses, going from royal gowns to court jester get-ups. She’s almost like an English teacher version of Ms. Frizzle – warm and entertaining, while also presenting you with a ton of knowledge.
Of course, it’s not all about the wonders of the performance. The actual facts presented are genuinely interesting and well-researched. By the end, the idea that Edward de Vere was the real Shakespeare seems air-tight. This isn’t all coming from a few gossip-y theories about Queen Elizabeth or Downton Abbey fantasies – everything in Behind the Name SHAKESPEARE is a legitimate counterpoint to the versions of William Shakespeare we’ve been taught.
For example, did you know that William Shaksper has virtually no literary paper trail? Or that he wasn’t spoken very highly of at all and was known more for never being able to pay his taxes than his writing skills? In fact, there’s a quote that claims writing brought Shaksper “pain.” So what’s the point of pinning a literary legacy onto him? All of this and more is explored. Not only are the individuals who were asserted to be Shakespeare at some point explored, but the actual reasons why the wrong person would be pinned with these works in the first place. Beyond that, the piece explores English history as a whole altogether. It dives into what nobles were and were not allowed to partake in, the education levels of peasants, symbols of British royalty, and more.
It is clear that Phillips put a lot of work into this topic. The documentary is extremely thorough. Her expertise in her field and her dedication to theater is very clear. It’s also worth noting that this is Philips' first foray into the film world. Prior to this documentary, she had given a Shakespeare stage show on the subject. Eventually, that performance transitioned into this film.
The theater influence is very clear here. The way everything is lit makes it feel like it’s a one-person stage show, which in a sense it is. The staginess doesn’t hurt the production in any way, since we are talking about a famous playwright after all. It fits the theme perfectly, and ends up feeling very intimate because of the fact that she’s the only person speaking, shrouded in darkness but hamming up history just for you.
While it’s a bit of a niche topic, the presentation here is charming enough that anyone can come into it and take something away from it. It’s surprisingly accessible, and someone who has never even READ a Shakespeare play could enter this and still follow along easily. Oftentimes, academic research like this is dense and exhausting, but Robin Phillips has made this journey into literary history thoroughly entertaining and approachable.
Watch the closing credits (and a surprise!) from the forthcoming award-winning film, "SHAKESPEARE: The Truth Behind The Name." A Christina di Marlo Film.
Watch "Joseph Skipsey and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust," a 'snippet' from the forthcoming award-winning film, "SHAKESPEARE: The Truth Behind The Name." A Christina di Marlo Film.
"BEHIND THE NAME SHAKESPEARE" is an extraordinary one-woman show/documentary.
The exceptional Robin Phillips guides us through the exciting investigation about who is really behind the most important plays in the whole world and therefore behind the name of William Shakespeare.
Robin Phillips puts all her talent as an author, actress, and storyteller, playing sort of comedian detective (a brilliant choice that makes us remain glued to the screen for the whole duration of the film) but contextualized in the era we are referring to. She transforms herself several times, she steps out and gets back into the narration with delicacy and without ever being out of tune.
And as a consequence of this, it's not difficult to get involved in the typical atmosphere of the sixteenth century, also thanks to the beautiful costumes designed by Phillips herself, who also worked on the music ("Best Sound Design," Venice Film Awards, Florence Film Awards, New York Movie Awards, Port Blair Film Festival, Blastoff, Indo-French, River Atreyee and Golden Nugget ) hairstyles, make-up, and artistic direction.
The documentary is full of information, anecdotes, details, and spins around two centuries, between literature, history, and art. Despite being so full of news and quotes, you can easily follow it from start to finish. Not only without ever getting bored but remaining with bated breath in search of yet another proof that helps to agree with an increasing number of groups of people who support this extraordinarily beautiful and thrilling theory.
It's difficult, after having seen it, not to want to join the chorus of voices of these artists, historians, writers, who claim that a glove maker's son could not have created what are among the greatest masterpieces of world theater literature. And that it's much more likely that it was the 17th Earl of Oxford, Edward de Vere, lover (to be reductive) of Queen Elizabeth, and an erudite and brilliant man of letters.
Art Harman enriches the movie with his cinematography and his technical effects, which join the narrative moments in a fluid and coherent way .To quote Anna Rice, even within the documentary itself this is "very very interesting stuff", which could not tell this crazy part of history in a better way.
I challenge the public not to fall in love with this story, with their protagonists, and with Robin Phillips in this delightful documentary film, which teaches and entertains, thus remaining faithful to the primary purpose of Elizabethan theater."
November 11, 2020
Watch "What's in a Name?" which reveals the the mystery of the name "Hamnet," an 'outtake' from the forthcoming award-winning film, "SHAKESPEARE: The Truth Behind The Name." A Christina di Marlo Film.
“Behind the Name SHAKESPEARE: Power, Lust, Scorn & Scandal” is a sensational experiment.
The film is the result of a combination of skills and passions, well complemented by the expert eye of Robin Phillips. It is also necessary to underline how this film is a new, fundamental step towards that auteur cinema aware of the other expressive means, towards which cinema stands as a new synthesis and elaboration. In this sense it is a work capable of reflecting on that dialogue between theater and cinema, which has always accompanied film creation.
This new investigation into the works of William Shakespeare, with an innovative taste, finds identity not
only in form but also in content. The research carried out by the director in this film is articulated as a
fascinating and evocative narrative. A real storytelling therefore, created with wisdom, which finds its best
expression in the interpretation of Robin Phillips, here author, director and actress. Phillips’ artistic and
productive effort is clearly evident on the screen: the wealth of sources, images and details, combined with a great attention to staging, make this film a completely successful experiment.
“Behind the name SHAKESPEARE” is therefore a film of impressive breadth, capable of reconciling the
virtues of cinema and those of theater and uniting them with the depth of its story. Hopefully Robin Phillips will delve further into this wonderful cinematic quest.
Watch "Ben Jonson, the De Vere Clan, and the First Folio Introduction" a fun outtake from the forthcoming award-winning film, "SHAKESPEARE: The Truth Behind The Name." A Christina di Marlo Film.
Don’t be fooled by the seeming irreverence of this film: the presentation style masks a powerful commentary on who really was behind the works of ‘Shakespeare’ –and provides ample well-researched evidence that it was not ‘the guy from Stratford’ but was Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford.
de Vere Society member Robin Phillips is the auteur writer, producer, director and artistic creator of this multi-award-winning documentary, presented in an experimental style that succeeds in getting a great amount of detail, based on solid research, across to all audience levels. She is also the elegant presenter ‘Christina di Marlo’ (whose opulent costumes would not have escaped 16th-century sumptuary laws) who provides tongue-in-cheek guidance through the sequential unfolding of events in Edward de Vere’s life. With 86 film festival awards gained so far, the word is getting out.
All the main points of Oxfordian theory are covered and explained with clear graphics and sumptuous illustrations that make the information accessible to all levels of prior knowledge. The research is impressive, convincing, substantiated, and with little or no conjecture. Content moves between 16th-century history, literature and art but the facts, visuals and music make the proposition very easy to follow; accessible but not dumbed-down. Those with a long-standing knowledge of de Vere’s life will find the poignancy and penetration of the points made deeply affecting –such as the injustice of the Dérogeance Laws for someone of Oxford’s position in the nobility.
The film has already had a huge impact on film festival audiences worldwide, successfully highlighting the subject with its multi-layered approach. Oxford’s story is illustrated in every sense, with seemingly unconnected facts settled into context through pictures, music and words. The theory and evidence make an impact on an emotional and sensory level with the Venice Film Festival fittingly stating the film ‘teaches and entertains ... remaining faithful to the primary purpose of Elizabethan theater’ (Venice Film Awards Review, 11.11.2020).
This Robin is no upstart, and has plenty to crow about. The film is one to watch, in all senses. Watch the trailer and other materials at: https://groundbreakerfilms.com
By Yvonne Cheal, January 2021 The de Vere Society www.deveresociety.co.uk | Twitter: @deveresocietyuk
Big Congratulations! Robin on a success that you richly deserve. I've been following your growing celebrity with interest since your first awards began to accumulate last fall. And I caught your appearance at the De Vere Society meeting last weekend. It must be very gratifying for you to experience these fruits of your work.
It was a great labor, obviously of love, and the result was truly a unique masterpiece. I still can't imagine the volume of work you put into it. It would seem that such an astounding array of graphics and explanatory text would need a legion of researchers behind you to accomplish it, with you only in the role of the 'star', delivering the lines.
But you did it all yourself and it's a truly amazing accomplishment. Probably, that's what makes your delivery so effective -- the fact that you yourself are the author as well as the 'actor'. Anyway, it's great and will continue for years and years to come to be a resource for anyone wanting to discover the true answer to the 'authorship question'.
-- Mark Aman, Verus Publishing, April 20, 2021, VerusBooks.com
Watch "The Sonnets: Steeped in the Classics," an 'outtake' from the forthcoming award-winning film, "SHAKESPEARE: The Truth Behind The Name." A Christina di Marlo Film.
Watch "Wouldn't be Debauched," a fun 'snippet' from the forthcoming award-winning film, "SHAKESPEARE: The Truth Behind The Name." A Christina di Marlo Film.
"The carefully crafted documentary by Robin Phillips discusses and dissects an alternative theory about the most significant literary figure in the west - William Shakespeare or as Phillips argues, the pen name of Edward De Vere the seventeenth Earl of Oxford. The documentary also discusses how unlikely were the chances of a literary giant to be someone from a family of glove makers in Stratford upon Avon. . .Robin Phillips does a fantastic job as the narrator of the film. She ensures that there is not a single dull moment in it, a bell for all her antics like the porter scene in "Macbeth" or the scene with the skull of Yorick in "Hamlet".
Another remarkable feature in the movie is the use of colourful costumes. Phillips appears almost Elizabethan if not for her Jonsonian sense of humour. However the film should not be looked upon as some casual presentation of facts full of levity. It is dense with a plethora of facts that would make one question the entire existence of Shakespeare. It would rekindle the debate between the Stratfordians and the Oxfordians.
The film asserts but never too strongly so as to appear coercive. A feature in the movie that one must talk about is the usage of images. There are numerous images in the movie almost sufficient to tell a story by itself. The numerous comparisons in the movie ensures that the viewer finds clarity in the claims of the storyteller. The jokes never feel forcibly inserted and the documentary never loses its proximity with fun. The background music transports one to an Elizabethan setting where literature flourished courtesy the university wits and the mysterious 'Bard of 'Avon'.
Robin Phillips has done her research quite well. She has presented a side that must be considered seriously in both the academic and the artistic circles revolving around Shakespeare. She was influenced by Roland Emmerich's 2011 film 'Anonymous', that explored the idea that Edward De Verne, the 17th Earl of Oxford, a playwright and poet himself, was the one who wrote the plays attributed to the son of a glove maker from Stratford upon Avon.
The movie explores a number of themes including Identity, love, the life of noblemen, their scandals and lastly the literary Renaissance in Elizabethan England. It would Inspire the admirers of Shakespeare to think about his existence, his life beyond a name and such quests must not be '...full of sound and fury signifying nothing'." -- Dec 15, 2020
Watch "The Laws of Dérogeance cut both ways," an 'outtake' from the forthcoming award-winning film, "SHAKESPEARE: The Truth Behind The Name." A Christina di Marlo Film.
Watch "Oxford's 'Geneva' Bible," a fascinating outtake from the forthcoming award-winning film, "SHAKESPEARE: The Truth Behind The Name." A Christina di Marlo Film.
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