This absorbing profile of Peter Sellars (State of Cinema Address, SFIFF 2007) accompanies the world-renowned American theater and film director over a busy two-year period, capturing everything from his work as director of Vienna’s New Crowned Hope Festival in 2006 to lectures as world arts and culture professor at UCLA and quieter moments in the rooftop garden of his Los Angeles home. The film opens on the Santa Fe Opera House, where Sellars leads two singers through a rehearsal of Argentine composer Osvaldo Golijov’s chamber opera, Ainadamar, set in 1960s South America amid memories of Garcia Lorca and the Spanish Civil War. The overt mingling of theater, music and politics in Ainadamar’s theme is an apt introductory note for a portrait of Sellars, whose ability to channel the social and political import of traditional as well as newer works remains integral to an artistic process perennially fresh and uncompromising. Kidel’s camera offers an up-close, relaxed and reflective perspective on Sellars’ visionary process and his quasi-itinerant, sometimes solitary lifestyle. He also covers his subject’s precocious interest in theater, puppetry and music, leading to Sellars’ wunderkind years at Harvard and his tenure as the uncommonly bold 26-year-old director/manager of the American National Theater in Washington, D.C. Sellars’ magnificent modern stagings of classic operas and plays—including A Flowering Tree, his latest collaboration with composer John Adams—serve throughout as glorious backdrop for the artist’s ruminations. “The art for me is a path and not a destination,” says Sellars, and Kidel takes us, literally and figuratively, along that path with him.
This film is competing for a Golden Gate Award. Presented in association with the San Francisco Opera. Sponsored by TV5Monde, French Cultural Services, French-American Cultural Society and San Simeon Films.
Official Website: http://fest08.sffs.org/films/film_details.php?id=44
Added by coda on April 29, 2008