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The Empty Plan (2010)

Shifting between documentary, historical reconstruction and melodrama, The Empty Plan interrogates the relationship between theory and practice in the theatre of Bertolt Brecht.




Credited cast:
... Ruth Berlau
... Salka Viertel
... Smilgin
Mike Davies ... Bertolt Brecht (voice) (as Robert Eliot)
... Iwan
... Hanns Eisler
... Pawel
Maya Lubinsky ... Masha
Thorston Manderlay ... Karpow
... Police Officer
Bernd Reichelt ... Bertolt Brecht
... Anton
Heather Rome ... Pelagea Vlassova
Fredrick Ruth ... Anton
... Helene Weigel


The Empty Plan contrasts scenes from Brecht's exile in Los Angeles (1941 to 1947) with productions of his 1931 play The Mother in the late Weimar Republic, New Deal America and post-war East Germany, exploring different modes of performance and their relation to changing historical and political circumstances. The title of the film is taken from Brecht's Messingkauf Dialogues, an unfinished theoretical work written during his exile, which considers the possibilities of 'committed art' and its practical, theoretical and formal limits at a time when revolutionary mass movements had been defeated and theatre was supplanted by Hollywood cinema as the dominant form of popular entertainment. Through the figures of Brecht, his collaborator Ruth Berlau and his wife, the actress Helene Weigel, the film reflects on conflicting personal, artistic and political ambitions, raising questions about the nature of art and the unrealised dream of its supersession through revolutionary practice. Written by Anja kirschner

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

art | theatre | hollywood exile | See All (3) »







Release Date:

22 November 2010 (UK)  »


Box Office


£55,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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