Theater of War

Watch Theater of War

  • NR
  • 2008
  • 7.0  (247)
  • 68

Theater of War is a powerful and thought-provoking film that explores the impact of war on society and the role of artists in responding to this reality. Set in present-day New York City, the film depicts the staging of a production of Sophocles' play, Philoctetes, which tells the story of a Greek warrior who has been abandoned on a remote island for ten years after being injured in battle. The play explores the themes of isolation, trauma, betrayal, and forgiveness, which are as relevant today as they were in ancient Greece.

The film follows the rehearsals and performances of the play, as well as the reactions of the audience and the broader community. The play is directed by the renowned theater director Brian Kulick, played by Kevin Kline, and stars Meryl Streep as the chorus leader, and also features other accomplished actors such as Tony Kushner.

The film interweaves footage of the play with interviews of the actors, the director, and experts in the fields of theater, literature, and psychology. The interviews provide context and analysis of the play's themes and the creative process behind the production. The film also features scenes of the audience's reactions and discussions after the performances, allowing the viewer to witness the impact of the play on the community.

One of the central themes of the film is the role of the artist in times of war. The play Philoctetes was written during the Peloponnesian War, a time of great conflict and division in Greece. The play, like many works of art, was a response to the violence and destruction of war and sought to provide a hopeful message of healing and reconciliation. The film raises the question of whether artists today have a similar responsibility to respond to the wars and conflicts of the contemporary world.

Another important theme is the psychological impact of war on soldiers and civilians alike. The play's protagonist, Philoctetes, suffers from physical and mental wounds as a result of his time in battle. The film shows how his isolation and trauma have affected his psyche and his relationships with others. The interviews with psychologists and experts in trauma and PTSD provide insight into the lasting effects of war and the challenges of healing.

The film also explores the power of theater to bring people together and create a sense of shared experience. The play's chorus, played by Meryl Streep, serves as a voice for the community and expresses the collective emotions and reactions to the events of the play. The film shows how the audience is drawn into the play and how their reactions and discussions after the performances create a sense of communal solidarity.

Throughout the film, there are also references to the current political and social context of the US, particularly the war in Iraq and the polarization of society. The play's themes of isolation, betrayal, and forgiveness resonate with the divisions and conflicts of contemporary America. The film raises the question of whether art, particularly theater, can play a role in bridging these divides and creating a sense of collective healing.

Overall, Theater of War is a compelling and moving exploration of the power of art, particularly theater, to address the human cost of war and to create a sense of connection and healing. The film's use of interviews, performance footage, and audience reactions provides a nuanced and multidimensional view of the impact of war on individuals and communities. The film ultimately leaves the viewer with a sense of hope and a reminder of the vital role that artists play in our society.

Theater of War is a 2008 documentary. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.0 and a MetaScore of 68.

Where to Watch Theater of War
Theater of War is available to watch free on Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download on demand at . Some platforms allow you to rent Theater of War for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
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  • IMDB Rating
    7.0  (247)
  • Metascore