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The real drama happens behind the curtain in this fascinating and rare look at four high-profile Broadway musicals (Wicked, Taboo, Caroline, Or Change, and Avenue Q) and their fearless journey to the Tony Awards®. Including a star-studded cast, this entertaining film takes viewers on an unprecedented behind-the-scenes view of the creative process that captures all the heartbreak and hilarity of trying make it big in Show Business!
The playful but intense and vastly informative Show Business: The Road to Broadway is a documentary about four musicals that were contenders for top Tony Awards prizes in the 2004 Broadway season. Following the parallel action between the quartet–”Wicked,” “Avenue Q,” “Taboo,” and “Caroline, or Change”–from concept through casting, rewrites, rehearsals, opening nights and the relative box-office fortunes of each, the film dazzles a viewer by seeming to be everywhere at once. Along the way, one encounters cascades of neuroses and anxieties from the creative community involved in these shows, but there is also tremendous insight shared by the various playwrights, composers, lyricists, producers, directors, and stars who get these productions up and running. There’s sundry drama, too, especially concerning the brief run of “Taboo,” the financially disastrous musical about Boy George that was largely bankrolled by Rosie O’Donnell and ran into a variety of problems. Excellent fly-on-the-wall moments include a dinner sequence involving a handful of well-known theatre critics, whose tastes vary and who often champion shows no one else seems to like. Everything leads to highlights from the 2004 Tony Awards show, which was full of surprises. A final sequence in which one catches up with the many talents involved says everything about how success and failure is often a mere roll of the cosmic dice.
In his career, De Wolf Hopper recited Ernest Lawrence Thayer’s “Casey at the Bat” thousands of times. Here, wearing a tuxedo, he emerges from behind a curtain as if at a theater, gives a short introduction, and launches into the poem. The camera is stationary, and although Hopper stands in one place, his hands and arms, his face, and his voice are animated throughout. In delivery, it’s a minstrel performance. Continue reading
In 1940, the actor Louis Jouvet held seven masterclasses at the Conservatoire National de Paris, in which he coached a student, Claudia, in the role of Elvire from Molière’s Dom Juan.
The notes from these lessons later formed the basis of a stage play by Brigitte Jaques at the Théâtre national de Strasbourg, with Philippe Clévenot in the role of Louis Jouvet and Maria de Medeiros as Claudia.
This is Benoît Jacquot’s telefilm adaptation of the play, with the same cast. It is in monochrome (as broadcast). Continue reading
A Kenneth Brown play filmed live by Jonas Mekas and edited by his borther Adolfas Mekas. Non-stop camera movement, scrambled dialogue, and harsh acting just makes this seems like it is strangling the audience.
Jonas Mekas’ The Brig is a fake documentary about ten confined soldiers in a U.S. Navy ship and the three guards who beat and humiliate them. After the title of the film, “The Brig”, the next title is “March 7, 1957 – U.S. Marine Corps – Camp Fuji, Japan – 4:30” Then Mekas goes on showing the daily lives of the soldiers, which consists of beatings, degradations, unnecessary cleanings and senseless rituals. The audience is expected to constantly question the reality of what is on the screen while being moved by the illusion. Continue reading
Seductive, fearless, and outrageous, Marina Abramović has been redefining what art is for nearly forty years. Using her own body as a vehicle, pushing herself beyond her physical and mental limits––and at times risking her life in the process––she creates performances that challenge, shock, and move us. Through her and with her, boundaries are crossed, consciousness expanded, and art as we know it is reborn. She is, quite simply, one of the most compelling artists of our time.
She is also a glamorous art-world icon, a lightning rod for controversy, and a myth of her own making. She is most certainly unlike anyone you have ever met before.
The feature-length documentary film marina abramović the artist is present takes us inside marina’s world, following her as she prepares for what may be the most important moment of her life: a major retrospective of her work, taking place at the museum of modern art in new york. To be given a retrospective at one of the world’s premiere museums is, for any living artist, the most exhilarating sort of milestone. For marina, it is far more: it is the chance to finally silence the question she has been hearing over and over again for four decades: “but why is this art?” Continue reading
John Adams’s groundbreaking work vividly brings to life President Nixon’s 1972 visit to communist China. Peter Sellars’s Met production, based on his 1987 world-premiere staging, features choreography by Mark Morris and stars James Maddalena as Nixon, Robert Brubaker as Chairman Mao, Janis Kelly as First Lady Pat Nixon, Russell Braun as Chinese Premier Chou En-lai, and Kathleen Kim as Chiang Ch’ing, Mao’s wife. From the pomp of the public displays to the intimacy of the protagonists most private moments, Adams, Sellars, and librettist Alice Goodman reveal the real characters behind the headlines in this landmark American opera.
IMDB User Comment:
Viva Pagliacci! Viva Zeffirelli!
27 August 2006 | by Marcin Kukuczka (Cieszyn, Poland)
Ruggero Leoncavallo’s dramatic libretto, PAGLIACCI, has been brought to screen several times. The sad story of Canio, a traveling entertainer betrayed by his wife, Nedda, has touched the audiences for years. Let us mention the famous Enrico Caruso and the significant role of this opera in his career. Yet, nowadays, when you want to find a good operatic direction, particularly its form on screen, look for Franco Zeffirelli’s works. While seeing his works, you can expect nothing less than a masterwork. The talented Italian-international director Zeffirelli, in case of opera, is probably most known for his ultimate masterpiece, the screen adaptation of Giusseppe Verdi’s LA TRAVIATA (1981). What crowds there are who say that they began to love opera thanks to this one! Nevertheless, PAGLIACCI is equally worth attention, not only for opera fans and not only due to the fact that the same classical pair are cast (Teresa Stratas and Placido Domingo). Continue reading