6.6/10
174
4 user

Catastrophe (2000)

| Short
A stage director and his female assistant find the blackest protagonist possible, then make him up as white as possible, to create the titular character.

Director:

Writer:

(play)
Reviews
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Early 20th century England: while toasting his daughter Catherine's engagement, Arthur Winslow learns the royal naval academy expelled his 14-year-old son, Ronnie, for stealing five ... See full summary »

Director: David Mamet
Stars: Rebecca Pidgeon, Jeremy Northam, Nigel Hawthorne
Things Change (1988)
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Shoe-shiner Gino is hired to take the rap for a mafia murder. Two-bit gangster Jerry watches over Gino and gives him a weekend to remember.

Director: David Mamet
Stars: Don Ameche, Joe Mantegna, Robert Prosky
Oleanna (1994)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Student Carol visits Professor John to discuss how she failed his course but the discussion takes awkward turn.

Director: David Mamet
Stars: William H. Macy, Debra Eisenstadt, Diego Pineda
Film (1965)
Short | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A twenty-minute, almost totally silent film (no dialogue or music one 'shhh!') in which Buster Keaton attempts to evade observation by an all-seeing eye. But, as the film is based around ... See full summary »

Director: Alan Schneider
Stars: Buster Keaton, Nell Harrison, James Karen
Homicide (1991)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A Jewish homicide detective investigates a seemingly minor murder and falls in with a Zionist group as a result.

Director: David Mamet
Stars: Joe Mantegna, William H. Macy, Vincent Guastaferro
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

An employee of a corporation with a lucrative secret process is tempted to betray it. But there's more to it than that.

Director: David Mamet
Stars: Steve Martin, Ben Gazzara, Campbell Scott
Absurda (2007)
Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A journey into absurdity.

Director: David Lynch
Redbelt (2008)
Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A fateful event leads to a job in the film business for top mixed-martial arts instructor Mike Terry. Though he refuses to participate in prize bouts, circumstances conspire to force him to consider entering such a competition.

Director: David Mamet
Stars: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Tim Allen, Emily Mortimer
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A movie crew invades a small town whose residents are all too ready to give up their values for showbiz glitz.

Director: David Mamet
Stars: Philip Seymour Hoffman, William H. Macy, Rebecca Pidgeon
Come and Go (TV Short 2000)
Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
Director: John Crowley
Stars: Paola Dionisotti, Anna Massey, Siân Phillips
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  
Director: David Mamet
Stars: Kristen Bell, Ricky Jay, Bob Jennings
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
The Director
...
The Director's Assistant
...
The Protagonist
Edit

Storyline

One of Samuel Beckett's shortest plays. A director and his assistant prepare an aged man for a public spectacle for a political purpose. The play was dedicated to the Czech dissident Vaclev Havel and was recently revived by the director and scientist Stephen Armourae as part of his 'New Blood' Theatre Season. The role of the aged protagonist was shared between Armourae and the actress Rosanna Hoult as a means of subverting Beckett's messages till further by presenting either Armourae or the very pretty Rosanna as the supposedly aged man as described in Beckett's text: Armourae and Hoult have worked as models. Written by filmweaver

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Short

Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Country:

|

Language:

Also Known As:

Catastrofe  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

This was John Gielgud's final acting role before his death on May 21, 2000 at the age of 96. See more »

Quotes

The Director's Assistant: [repeated exchange] You've seen them.
The Director: I forget.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
no matter try again fail again fail better
7 March 2003 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

It's quite an achievement to take a five minute play and completely miss the point, but that's what David Mamet seems to have done. Beckett's play is about a director and his assistants trying to create a stage image of abject despair. They take an actor, the Protagonist, who remains silent throughout, and adjust him and tweak him until his clothing and posture project the required image of pitiful dejectedness. Then they shine a light on him and admire their handiwork, and the applause of a vast audience echoes through the theatre. But instead of staying in his abject position, the Protagonist rebels: he lifts his head and stares the audience in the eye. The applause falters and dies. End of play.

It's probably the most optimistic play Beckett wrote and symbolises the indomitability of the human spirit in the face of totalitarianism (it was written for the imprisoned Czech playwright Vaclav Havel).

Anyway, Mamet spoils it by trying to make it naturalistic. First, he films it in a real place, which looks like a tiny theatre in a village hall, with dinky wooden chairs and a parquet floor. This means that Harold Pinter, as the Director, looks like a local amateur dramatics honcho rather than a symbol of totalitarian oppression. Secondly, Mamet ignores Beckett's stage direction about the applause of a vast audience, and instead gives us only the Director's Assistant clapping; this removes the film even further from its satire on totalitarianism. Finally, Mamet obscures John Gielgud's poignant performance as the Protagonist: we don't see him raise his head, and only see his face for a couple of seconds (whereas Beckett asks for a long pause), so the play's most powerful moment is muffled.

All I have to say, Mr Mamet, is, IT'S MEANT TO BE SYMBOLIC!! Hello...?


18 of 22 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?