A chronicle, which goes behind the scenes on a stormy collaboration between the iconoclastic dance company, Pilobolus, and legendary author-illustrator Maurice Sendak. Over months of improv work in the studio, they transform a haunting holocaust legacy into a disturbing theater piece. The documentary weaves verite rehearsal, interviews, rare holocaust footage, and performances into a revelation of the creative process. Shot on wide screen digibeta, Sendak with his Night Kitchen Theater partner, Arthur Yorinks and Pilobolus artistic directors Robby Barnett, Michael Tracy, and Jonathan Wolken shows us the tenacity and wit that drive the creative process when serious artists work together. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
Though "enjoyment" is probably not the first word that comes to mind to describe the viewing experience of this film, since the subject matter of the dance/theater piece at the heart of the movie is sad and tragic, and much of the interplay between the artists who work together to create the dance/theater piece is rife with conflict, I found this documentary greatly enjoyable (in a powerful, moving and engrossing sense...) on several levels, some of them unexpected, which then added to my overall enjoyment. The film is at once all of these things - an exploration of the creative process, with elements of visual art, dance, theater and storytelling, a film version of a powerful modern dance piece, and one of the most suspenseful "will they make it/won't they/let's put on a show!" step by step accounts of the project, as the various artists involved in the project at times clash in their personalities and creative visions, and at other times cooperate together in magical ways toward success. If you do have any interest in the creative process as it relates to art, but happen to feel that you're not a fan of modern dance, and that latter feeling leads you to consider passing on the film, to do so probably would be a big mistake, for the film can be appreciated on so many other levels beyond one's interest or lack thereof in modern dance. If you are interested in modern dance, especially Pilobolus in particular, the film is a don't miss, as it is for those who are fans of Maurice, as well as anyone interested in the history and/or artistic explorations of the Holocaust.
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