For the past month, the Cleveland Museum of Art has hosted a program called "Friday Night First Runs." It features local premieres of movies that have previously bypassed Cleveland during their theatrical runs. Tonight at 7, it's offering a screening of 2008's Theater of War, a film about a theatrical production of a Brecht play that has newfound political relevance. Here's our review of the film.
Theater of War (US, 2008) Documentary filmmaker John Walter’s (How to Draw a Bunny) probing, in-depth look at a 2006 Public Theater production of Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage and Her Children provides filmgoers with a fascinating look into the creative process. It’s as much about Brecht’s legacy and how his seminal late ’30s work — set against the backdrop of the Thirty Years’ War — holds up a mirror to U.S. involvement in Iraq as it is about the prodigiously talented individuals, including director George C. Wolfe, Tony Kushner (who did the new translation) and stars Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline, responsible for breathing new life into a 70-year-old play. There’s something wonderfully ennobling about watching art come to life before your eyes, and Walter doesn’t stint on cataloguing the blood, sweat and tears that go into creating theatrical alchemy. *** 1/2 (Milan Paurich)