Theater of War (2008)
Theater of War (2008)
Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.
Bertolt Brecht's +Mother Courage and Her Children is widely regarded as one of the most important plays of the 20th century and a powerful, punishing statement of protest against the grim folly of war. Brecht's drama is often staged in Europe, but it has rarely been given major productions in the United States; however, in 2006, with the ongoing war in Iraq occupying the minds of many in the United States, playwright Tony Kushner prepared a new English translation of +Mother Courage and director George C. Wolfe persuaded Meryl Streep to return to the stage to play the lead in a production that ran for free in New York's Central Park for four weeks. Filmmaker John Walter examines this landmark production in the documentary Theater of War. In addition to featuring excerpts from the play, Theater of War offers a behind-the-scenes look at the creative process behind the staging of +Mother Courage, and includes interviews with most of the creative team. Walter also offers insights into Brecht's tumultuous life and career, the history of his masterpiece, and what many regard as the play's definitive staging, starring Brecht's wife, actress Helene Weigel. Theater of War received its premiere at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival. … More
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Critic Reviews for Theater of War
Engrossing and timely, this crackles with ideas about art, politics, religion, and the terrible costs of war.
For theater lovers in general, this documentary -- a look at a high-powered production of a modern classic and a chance to watch Meryl Streep build a character -- is intriguing and educational. For partisans of Bertolt Brecht, it's mandatory.
All of this makes an interesting, if not gripping, film about the play, the playwright and the lead-up work to a stage production. It also leaves me wanting a great deal more.
Theater of War, Walter's invigorating film, asserts the value of Brecht -- and the power of art -- for our troubled times.
As a onetime dramaturg and Brechtian, I enjoyed the chin-wags and the glimpses of Streep in rehearsal -- especially her quivering admission that she can't bear the thought of anyone seeing her process.
Audience Reviews for Theater of War
Ties together war, world history past and present, rehearsal process, Brecht's own biography, Marxism, and, of course, the play, "Mother Courage and Her Children," weaving together a tapestry of interviews, behind-the-scenes footage, home movies from Brecht, newsreel footage, and photos and recordings of both the original production and the Central Park revival. Ultimately, the whole of "Theater of War" isn't any more than the sum of its many fascinating parts, but it's interested, engaging, frequently exciting stuff, and for anyone who loves Brecht (like I do) or who saw the performance (which I did), it's essential viewing.
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