Sunday, March 16, 2008

Too Good for IS

At a colleague's recommendation, I just watched Protagonist, a powerful and moving new documentary by Jessica Yu. As in her beautiful Henry Darger: In the Realms of the Unreal, Yu mixes interview footage with other media: in this case, stirring re-creations of Euripidean tragedies using puppets and masks. Fans of Mark Salzman may remember his extraordinary Wu Shu performances at Yale in the late 1980's; this film ends with him describing his life up to the point at which he moved to China to study martial arts full-time.

From the Netflix page for the film: Four disparate lives intertwine with surprising results in this absorbing documentary, an official selection of the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. A German terrorist, a bank robber, an "ex-gay" evangelist and a martial arts student form the unlikely quartet. In her interweaving narrative, Oscar-winning filmmaker Jessica Yu explores parallels between human life and the formal dramatic structure of the Greek tragedian Euripides.

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