The Facets Cinémathèque is located at 1517 W. Fullerton Ave. in Chicago. For more information on films playing in the Cinémathèque, please call 773-281-4114. To order advance tickets online, visit the TicketWeb website by clicking here.
THEATER OF WAR
Critics' Pick! "[An] inspired, inspiring essayistic documentary" -New York Times
"What ultimately stands out is Streep's performance of Brecht's 'Song of the Great Capitulation.' Few actors can act while they sing as effortlessly as Streep, and these minutes (which Walter shows as one long take) are almost powerful enough to carry an entire feature doc by themselves" -Village Voice
½ "Fascinating" -Chicago Tribune
Recommended! -NewCity Chicago
Recommended! "Engrossing and timely, this crackles with ideas about art, politics, religion, and the terrible costs of war" -Chicago Reader
In the summer of 2006, Meryl Streep took a time out from making movies, and she took on the role of a lifetime: the lead in Bertolt Brecht's classic anti-war play Mother Courage and Her Children. Written in 1939 in response to the invasion of Poland by Hitler's German army, the play is about the devastating effects of war and the dismal economic need for anyone hoping to profit by it. Nearly seven decades later — as the war in Iraq wages on with no discernable end — Brecht's play has a lamentable resonance. And for the first time, Streep allowed a camera crew to document her rehearsal process. Theater of War not only takes us back-stage with one of the greatest actresses of our time, it also takes us back in time, uncovering the story of Brecht's flight from the Nazis, his years in exile, and his eventual return to Germany where he first staged Mother Courage. As evidenced with his film How to Draw a Bunny, director John Walter is no stranger to examining the work of artists, as he explored the psychological ramifications of the life and art of Ray Johnson. In Theater of War, he has made an outstanding documentary as we follow Tony Award winning playwright Tony Kushner and others, explore the terrifying theme of Brecht's masterpiece: why does history repeat itself in an endless cycle of violence and warfare?
Directed by John Walter, U.S.A. 2008, DigiBeta, 95 mins.