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After the American playwright and actor Sam Shepard had played the role of the ghost in Michael Almereyda's Hamlet, Shepard invited the filmmaker to document rehearsals for his The Late Henry Moss, that he staged with Nick Nolte and Sean Penn in leading roles. Almereyda and his crew filmed the last three weeks before the première. The film combines interviews with Shepard, his actors and staff with images of the rehearsals. The result is both a portrait and a unique glimpse of top actors seeking their way through the material. The film also offers a survey of the career of Shepard, including a report of his stormy relationship with his father, who died in 1984. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
Documentary about Sam Shepard and the star studded production of Shepard's play the Late Henry Moss.
This was one of the choices on IFC in Theaters cable service and since I'm a huge theater fan as well as a fan of most of the people involved I figured I would give the film a shot. While its great to see how play is rehearsed and put together I found it all very disjointed and ultimately a mess. I know part of my problem going in was that I was completely unfamiliar with the play. Now having seen this film I feel I'm considerably less so. I'm sure that had I had some clue as to what the play was about the scenes we see being worked on might have had some resonance, instead of just seeming to be random.Many people have compared this to Looking For Richard, Al Pacino's film about Richard the Third, while that film had what seemed like random scenes, the play is part of our cultural heritage and so the plot is known by most people. Also that earlier film deals with Shakepeare and interpreting the Bard, things are put into a context. Thats not the case here. Here we have a good many talking heads talking about the production, Shepard, and Shepard's plays, and the autobiographical nature of what Shepard writes (and biographical stories). Its a jumbled mess that never really seemed to come together. Half an hour in I started to fast forward. It just never grabbed me or made me know what I was watching.
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