Metro Weekly

National Art Gallery offers Grigori Kozintsev’s sweeping 1971 version of “King Lear”

The Soviet drama is often touted as the best cinematic adaptation of Shakespeare's play

King Lear (1971, USSR) aka Korol Lir

Laurence Olivier did it in 1983, a few years before his death. Ian McKellen has done it twice in just the last decade. Yet among the greats who have played the title character from Shakespeare’s greatest tragedy, it is the imposing portrayal by Estonian actor Jüri Järvet (Solaris) that many scholars consider to be the best Lear rendered on stage or screen.

Grigori Kozintsev’s sweeping Soviet drama from 1971 is often touted as the best cinematic adaptation, as well. The National Gallery of Art is giving museumgoers a rare chance to judge for themselves, offering a special one-day screening of Kozintsev’s Russian-language film, based on a translation by Boris Pasternak.

King Lear features the stunning black-and-white cinematography of Ionas Gritsius and a spare and haunting soundtrack by famed Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich. Presented with English subtitles, the King Lear screening comes in conjunction with the exhibition Michel Sittow: Estonian Painter at the Courts of Renaissance Europe.

Sunday, March 11, at 4 p.m. East Building Auditorium, 3rd Street at Constitution Avenue NW. Free, but first-come, first-seated. Call 202-737-4215 or visit

[ninja-inline id=73197]

Please Support LGBTQ Journalism

As a free LGBTQ publication, Metro Weekly relies on advertising in order to bring you unique, high quality journalism, both online and in our weekly edition. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has forced many of our incredible advertisers to temporarily close their doors to protect staff and customers, and so we’re asking you, our readers, to help support Metro Weekly during this trying period. We appreciate anything you can do, and please keep reading us on the website and our new Digital Edition, released every Thursday and available for online reading or download.

Doug Rule covers the arts, theater, music, food, nightlife and culture as contributing editor for Metro Weekly. Follow him on Twitter @ruleonwriting.

Leave a Comment:

Like What You're Reading?

Get Metro Weekly's Daily Email