Despite dramatically different approaches to mise-en-scène, Julie Taymor's Titus (1999) and Ralph Fiennes's Coriolanus (2011) both use Rome in a way reminiscent of what Susan Bennett and Pascale Aebischer term the ‘contemporary Jacobean.’ The films locate the violence, pain, and politics of the Shakespearean texts simultaneously in an ancient past and a vaguely timeless present, creating a preposterous contemporary Rome. In Taymor's Titus, even scenes filmed off-location are designed to play to audiences’ preconceived notions of Rome through references to history, literature, and pop culture. While the production is site-specific, the time period is both universal and conflated; every historical or fictional Rome seems to exist in the same moment in the film. Fiennes establishes a Rome that is more time-specific by making costumes and setting distinctly contemporary, but the site of the Roman setting becomes universal, suggesting that the Rome of Shakespeare's Coriolanus can be anywhere and everywhere. The disordered Romes presented by Taymor and Fiennes suggest that Shakespeare can be understood through a reading of contemporary warfare, and contemporary civil strife can be understood and even predicted through Shakespeare's Rome. This cyclical reading of human brutality establishes both films as nostalgic readings of Shakespearean texts.

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