Wednesday, June 27 at 7:30 pm
The Greater Circulation
By Antero Alli
– appearing in person
Rainer Maria Rilke wrote Requiem for a Friend in 1908 over two dream-filled nights — tethered to the netherworld of ghosts, muses, and dreams — at the Hotel Biron in Paris. It was his tribute to his close friend and fellow artist, Paula Modersohn-Becker, who unexpectedly died eighteen days after birthing her first child. Rilke transforms his lament over this tragic death and loss into an epic work of literature. Part pictorial biography and narrative fiction, Antero Alli‘s film is a cinematic treatment of Rilke’s prose/poem addressing the central drama of all women torn between sacrificing their lives to their Art or to Motherhood. The Requiem (via the lyrical Stephen Mitchell translation) is the heart, soul, and mind of master underground filmmaker Antero Alli’s marvelous drama.
This poignant film, so full of feeling, has a deceptively simple concept: an experimental theater company in Berkeley, California, stages a performance ritual based on Rilke’s Requiem and during the course of rehearsals and production the impact of the piece comes to challenge and haunt the people involved in it. And beyond this concept is a deep, provocative, and often disturbing drama which poses questions of love, art, mortality, and grief with the grace and majesty of Rilke’s work. This docu-fiction is a marvel of mature emotion and deep wisdom; few films have been able to explore issues surrounding death with such grace and intelligence. Rilke himself figures in the film via flashbacks which recreate the physical and emotional circumstances behind Requiem for a Friend.
Watch an excerpt:
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