A golden opportunity to analyze the most vital and probably most creative contempo American playwright is missed in Freida Lee Mock’s docu, “Wrestling With Angels: Playwright Tony Kushner.” Kushner’s art demands a filmmaker of equally challenging artistry, able to plumb an opus based in polemics, politics and Brecht, instead of psychodrama. Instead, Mock provides a mild, PBS-style pic more interested in Kushner’s busy schedule and good citizenship than his writing. Vid and pub tube play, where newcomers to Kushner will at least be served with a good intro, look to be prime platforms, with theatrical sales a long shot.
Lensed on poor-grade vid (by several d.p.’s of varying caliber), doc follows Kusher as he dashes around Manhattan from project to project, with a few time-outs for visits to his Hudson River Valley getaway or his Lake Charles, La. hometown for his dad’s 80th birthday. Most revealing section covers Kushner’s collaboration with Maurice Sendak on a fresh stage version of the legendary “Brundibar,” once performed by Jewish kids in Nazi death camps.