Review: ‘The Tightrope’

Legendary British-born, Paris-based legit helmer Peter Brook offers a glimpse into the techniques he uses to train thesps in "The Tightrope."

Legendary British-born, Paris-based legit helmer Peter Brook offers a glimpse into the techniques he uses to train thesps in “The Tightrope,” a fitfully interesting but irritatingly reverential docu helmed by Brook’s son, producer-director Simon Brook (“Generation 68”). Hardcore theater nuts, especially those with aspirations to the stage, will rep the pic’s core fanbase, but their numbers might not be enough to walk this precariously balanced effort beyond assured airings on upscale TV cablers.

In a stripped-down rehearsal space, Peter Brook welcomes a mini-United Nations’ worth of international thesps to partake in the title exercise, which requires them to walk an imaginary tightrope on the floor, all the time striving to be “true, real, alive and interesting.” Some clown it up like Yoshi Oida, while others give more gymnastic perfs, reaping cryptic feedback from the guru-like Brook, whose pronunciations are exactly the kind of airy, semi-mystical guff that satirists of legit pretensions love to mock. Nevertheless, there’s no doubting Brook and the performers’ commitment to their craft, even if the end result is somewhat repetitive. Tech credits are low-budget adequate.

The Tightrope

Documentary - U.K.-Italy-France


A Brook Prods. production in association with Cinemaundici, Arte France. (International sales: Films Distribution, Paris.) Produced by Simon Brook, Ermanno Olmi, Luigi Musini, Jean-Pierre Eklou Atisso. Directed by Simon Brook. Screenplay, Peter Brook, Simon Brook.


Camera (color, HD), Alexis Kavyrchine; editor, Josie Miljevic, Barbara Bossuet; production designer, Benoit Barouh; art director, Yann Dury, Antoine Champeme; sound (stereo), Thierry Delor. Reviewed at Venice Film Festival (noncompeting), Sept. 5, 2012. Running time: 86 MIN.


Peter Brook, Yoshi Oida, Marcello Magni, Hayley Carmichael, Jos Houben, Abdou Ouologuem, Shantala Shivalingappa, Lydia Wilson, Emily Wilson, Micha Lescot, Cesar Sarachu, Khalifa Natour, Toshi Tsuchitor, Franck Krawczyk, Marie-Helene Estienne. (English, French, Japanese, Spanish dialogue)

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