Julie Taymor’s Immersive, Inventive Cinematic Experience

Posted by


This coming week in Miami, the visionary theatrical, operatic and cinematic talent Julie Taymor delivers her latest cinematic/theatrical hybrid opus, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Taymor, winner of two Tonys for her Broadway production of The Lion King, has previously directed the feature films Titus (99), Frida (02), Across the Universe (07) and The Tempest (10). Miami International Film Festival‘s senior documentary programmer Thom Powers brought the international premiere of the film to last year’s Toronto International Film Festival, and had this to say about it at the time:

Of all Shakespeare’s plays, A Midsummer Night’s Dream is the most phantasmagorical, with fairies, spells, and hallucinatory lovers. His flights of fancy are well matched to the talents of Julie Taymor, who turns out a production that’s visually breathtaking, funny, sexy, and darkly poetic.

With cinematography by Rodrigo Prieto (Argo, Frida) and music by Academy Award- winning composer Elliot Goldenthal, this immersive, inventive cinematic experience was filmed last fall during Taymor’s highly acclaimed inaugural stage production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the new Polonsky Center in Brooklyn. The intimacy of the performance is heightened through the use of hand-held cameras placed amid the action onstage.


Characteristic of Taymor, the feats of visual imagination are ingenious and plentiful, but beating at the centre of the film is an emotionally moving take on the deeper human aspects of this beloved tale. The performances are stellar; one revelation for many viewers will be the casting of Kathryn Hunter as Puck. The actor has won critical acclaim mainly on the London stage, with a notable screen appearance as Arabella Figg in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. As an androgynous and transformational Puck, she is a mesmerizing presence.

Taymor has gone from experimental theatre to rejuvenating the Broadway musical with The Lion King, while repeatedly taking risks on films from Frida and Across the Universe to Titus and The Tempest. In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, she displays her creative powers in their peak form.” – Thom Powers

A Midsummer Night’s Dream will screen ONLY TWICE at MDC’s Tower Theater (see trailer) in a dazzlingly 4K, Dolby 5.1 surround sound experience. Showtimes are next Sunday, June 21st at 4pm and Monday, June 22nd at 7:15pm. Tickets are going fast and are available here.

Jaie Laplante

Jaie Laplante is the Miami Film Festival's executive director and director of programming. Learn more about Jaie on Programmers.