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This So-Called Disaster
     

This So-Called Disaster

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In 2000, director Michael Almereyda brought his film crew to San Francisco to document the rehearsal process for the Magic Theater's production of Sam Shepard's play The Late Henry Moss, as directed by the playwright himself. The resulting film, This So-Called Disaster, is partly a study of the magic of theater, as well as a study of the fascinating

Overview

In 2000, director Michael Almereyda brought his film crew to San Francisco to document the rehearsal process for the Magic Theater's production of Sam Shepard's play The Late Henry Moss, as directed by the playwright himself. The resulting film, This So-Called Disaster, is partly a study of the magic of theater, as well as a study of the fascinating Shepard, who is nearly universally considered one of the most influential American dramatists of the past century. Shepard and Almereyda's first collaboration came via the former's adaptation of Hamlet, in which Shepard played the part of the Ghost of Hamlet's father. Shepard, in turn, invited Almereyda to film the rehearsal process for his latest play, The Late Henry Moss, a 16-year labor of love for Shepard that relates a fictional recounting of the playwright's own relationship with his late father. Following the cast -- which includes such luminaries as Sean Penn, Nick Nolte, Cheech Marin, and Woody Harrelson -- and the crew until the production's opening night, Almereyda observes the minutiae involved in leading up to the first curtain, as well as some private moments with Shepard as he recounts some of his personal history as related to The Late Henry Moss. This So-Called Disaster was included in the programs for the 2003 Rotterdam International Film Festival and the Tribeca Film Festival.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
Michael Almereyda's fly-on-the-wall documentary This So-Called Disaster offers nearly 90 minutes of intimate footage of some high-powered actors at work, but they are not what gives the film its worth. Although Sean Penn, Nick Nolte, and Woody Harrelson all have reputations as wild men, they are across-the-board professional throughout the proceedings. This is because they, like Almereyda, are obviously in awe of the play's writer and director, Sam Shepard. The best moments in the film take place away from the rehearsals when Shepard, alone on a chair on a porch, reveals the autobiographical facts about his relationship with his father. This often painful history has provided the raw material from which Shepard has fashioned plays that have made him arguably the most successful America playwright of his time. To hear him speak about these facts is engaging, but the majority of the film takes place while the actors are working with Shepard and each other. Seeing how they hone their performances in order to wring every nuance from the script is fascinating for anyone with an interest in the acting process, but those looking for reality-TV tension between the performers will be disappointed. This So-Called Disaster is a respectful film that will appeal to those with an interest in Shepard.

Product Details

Release Date:
12/14/2004
UPC:
0883904128403
Original Release:
2003
Source:
Mgm (Video & Dvd)
Sales rank:
82,369

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This So-Called Disaster 1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Burnout75 More than 1 year ago
Banal, poorly edited and narcissistic. A very poor documentary that relies on the "star power" of its characters. Don't waste your money on this execrable film.