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My Week With Shakespeare: Coriolanus

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Freshly returned, triumphant at the Golden Globes, Harvey Weinstein exhibited no jet lag introducing a new film, Coriolanus at the Paris Theater: There are three great Shakespeare films, he exulted, Olivier's Hamlet, Olivier's Henry V, and this one. The film's star and director Ralph Fiennes then introduced cast members Jessica Chastain and Vanessa Redgrave to a crowd that included Patti Smith, Judd Hirsch, Gina Gershon, Fisher Stevens, Dan Abrams, Michael Stuhlbarg, Liam Neeson, James Earl Jones, Paul Haggis, Terry George, Thomas Langmann, and hosts Bob Balaban and Susan Sarandon.

The smart and edgy take on one of Shakespeare's politically astute plays was un-surprisingly gory, a Jacobean catharsis, but also fascinating for the glimpse it offers into a family in power. To twist an adage, behind every wrongheaded leader find an ambitious mother. The role of Volumnia is perhaps the most juicy the bard ever penned for a woman, even if men performed those roles in his day. With Redgrave in military suit, the Oedipal paradigm is set awry. What mother measures her son's success by the severity of his wounds?

Brian Cox and Gerard Butler are particularly good in this film that has the look of war footage direct from the Afghan front as seen on CNN. Jessica Chastain plays Coriolanus' wife Virgilia. At the Chopard sponsored after party at Forty-four at the Royalton where cocktails made with Dewar's flowed, Chastain talked about fashion and her new film scheduled to begin shooting in Jordan on February 1, that is, Kathryn Bigelow's and Mark Boal's much publicized project on finding Bin Laden.

As to the frock, Chastain was wearing a lacy Monique Lhuillier number she procured from her stylist. When she was a student at Julliard, said the fine-boned redhead who starred in The Help, Take Shelter, and The Tree of Life to name just a few films of the recent season, she thought of the Paris Theater as a romantic place and chose the dress to match.

A version of this post also appears on Gossip Central.