Ingmar Bergman – Markisinnan de Sade AKA Madame de Sade (1992)

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Bergman’s production Yukio Mishima’s play Madame de Sade was not the first work by the Japanese playwright to be performed in Sweden. In 1959, Dramaten had produced some of Mishima’s Noh plays and in 1970, the Swedish Theatre in Helsinki visited Dramaten with a version of Madame the Sade. Mishima had been nominated several times to the Novel Prize in literature but was passed over in favour of his mentor Kawabata (1968).

The setting of Madame de Sade begins in France in 1772 and ends twelve years later, nine months after the French Revolution. Six Women, one of them Madame de Sade, discuss their views and feelings of the notorious sadist and sodomist Marquis de Sade.

An enthusiastic critical corps focussed on Bergman’s ensemble of actresses and on the concentration and musicality of his staging. Continue reading

Peter Sellars – Nixon in China (2011)

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Overview
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.
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Dori Berinstein – ShowBusiness: The Road to Broadway (2007)

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From Amazon.com –

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.
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Pedro Costa – Ne change rien (2009)

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In Ne change rien, we see the French actress/singer Jeanne Balibar rehearsing, recording, performing and practicing with a singing coach for an opera bouffe by Jacques Offenbach. The Portuguese director Pedro Costa, a friend of Balibar’s who did the camera work himself, filmed her in long, static shots in which all attention is focused on her performance. This film, shot digitally, shows how versatile Balibar is. Costa also manages to portray the creative process, for instance in a scene in which Balibar and her guitarist Rodolphe Burger try out several variations of a song. Costa’s intimate portrait of the singer is filmed in black-and-white. Costa, who is celebrating his 50th birthday this year and who made his debut in 1989 with the feature O sangue, has seen many of his films screened in Rotterdam over the years. Continue reading

Peter Tscherkassky – Ji.hlava IDFF Presents: Masterclass – Peter Tscherkassky (2014)

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Master Class of Peter Tscherkassky starts with the screening of Instructions for a Light and Sound Machine, premiered at Cannes IFF as part of the independent section, Quinzaine des réalisateurs. The Master Class itself focuses on an analysis of this film.

Peter Tscherkassky was born in 1958 in Vienna. He studied journalism and political science as well as philosophy at the University of Vienna. Tscherkassky began filming in 1979 when he acquired Super-8 equipment and before the end of the year he had scripted and started off the shooting of Kreuzritter. Tscherkassky’s deconstructions of film material reinterpret fragments from the history of cinematography, simultaneously creating entirely unique qualities. Continue reading