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Performance

Ken Russell – il mefistofele (1989)

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Arrigo Boito’s Il Mefestefele was first performed in 1868 and his most known work. In Ken Russell’s modern interpretation presented by the Genoese Opera, it has Faust as an ageing hippy. He smokes marijuana and is tormented by his lost youth. Mephisto makes a bet with God that he can turn anyone to pagan life, even someone as innocent as Faust. From then on it is a battle of good against evil in a flamboyant, surreal display of primary colours, PVC costumes, nurses with swastikas, rocket trips, love and even characters dressed as Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse. Ken Russell said because the devil is always with us is his reason for the contemporary setting. Written by Archie Moore Read More »

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

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Quote:
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. Read More »

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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Cinémathèque Française – Masterclass Brian De Palma (2018)

Masterclass Brian De Palma at Cinémathèque Française, 2 June 2018. Read More »

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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Cannes Film Festival – Jean-Luc Godard Press Conference Cannes 2018 (2018)

Press conference at the Cannes Film Festival, with the virtual participation of Jean-Luc Godard via FaceTime. It took place on May 12, 2018. [Dual audio, original french in the first track, english translation in the second track] Read More »

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. Read More »