Robert Wilson and the Civil Wars

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Robert Wilson and the Civil Wars
Directed by Howard Brookner
Produced by Howard Brookner
Starring Robert Wilson
Release date(s) 1987
Running time 90 minutes
Country USA
Germany
United Kingdom
Language English

Robert Wilson and the Civil Wars is a 1987 documentary by Howard Brookner about Robert Wilson’s ambitious attempt to stage an epic, twelve-hour, multinational opera for the 1984 Summer Olympics.

Synopsis[edit]

Robert Wilson and the Civil Wars is an in-depth documentation of Robert Wilson’s ambitious attempt to stage an epic, twelve-hour, multinational opera for the 1984 Summer Olympics. Filmmaker Howard Brookner follows the avant-garde theatre director as he confronts a hectic work schedule, funding difficulties and relentless international travel in attempt to complete his preparations.[1]

The film examines Wilson’s unique theatrical style during The Civil Wars: A Tree Is Best Measured When It Is Down, which involves the continual creation of evocative stage sets, owing to a unique juxtaposition of movement, sound, text and image. Known for his precise, painterly images Wilson’s work derives more from visual art than the orthodox literary traditions of theatre. As a result, Wilson often challenges actors to perform in a boldly minimalist style, as well as collaborating with non-actors, such as young autistic poet Christopher Knowles in Einstein on the Beach.

Production[edit]

Like Howard Brookner’s earlier film Burroughs: The Movie, Robert Wilson and the Civil Wars features unique access to its subject, as well as an impressive host of interviewees, including Wilson’s long-term composer Philip Glass, Heiner Müller, Lucinda Childs, Sheryl Sutton, Ingrid Andree, Bénédicte Pesle, Gavin Bryars, Michel Guy, Isabel Eberstadt and Christopher Knowles. Howard Brookner also narrates part of the film himself, which he shot on 16mm in Minneapolis, Rome, Rotterdam, Cologne, Tokyo and Marseille.

The film originally screened in avant-garde and cinema festivals, as well as on public television in the US, on the BBC in the UK and ZDF in Germany.

Cast[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Richard Christiansen (July 16, 1987). "Exploring The Complex World Of Performance Artist Robert Wilson". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 7, 2013. 

External links[edit]