Wagner - Parsifal (1998)





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Movie Info

This is very good work of its kind, but potential viewers should know what to expect. It is not a performance of Wagner's Parsifal, which would take over four hours, but a 90-minute television documentary about the quest for the Holy Grail and Wagner's treatment of the subject--his last opera. It is a wide-ranging, fast-moving, multifaceted discussion, with selected scenes from Parsifal and brief allusions to other treatments of the Holy Grail (Indiana Jones, Monty Python), glimpses of Wagner's life, as played by Richard Burton, a look at the biblical roots and theological implications of the Grail legend, its medieval elaborations, and a horrifying study of the influence of Parsifal's racial attitudes on Adolf Hitler. The production's satisfactions are primarily intellectual; it can be watched with pleasure a few times and it will be useful in schools and libraries, but it will not bear repeated playing like a recorded performance. --Joe McLellan
Musical & Performing Arts

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