Karamazovi Greenwich Picturehouse 23 March

****

This is a Czech film (Petr Zelenka, 2008) about a theatre company from Prague rehearsing a performance of an adaptation of The Brothers Karamazov in Nowa Huta, a semi-operational Polish steelworks.  Apart from some exchanges at the beginning about a descendant of Dostoevsky coming to an international conference in the hope of getting a Merc out of it, that’s about it.

Except that as happens in these cases, the action bleeds out from the playing area into the actors and the spectators, in particular one of the maintenance man who is undergoing a severe personal trauma and is also drawn into the world of the play.  Kasia, the Polish representative whose idea all of this is, says that the idea is to bring people together and that turns out to be true all too true.

It all works very well (helped by the strength of the underlying material):  the play itself, the answering desolate grimness of the steelworks, the actors’ competitive egotism and their differing responses to signals from the real world.

Well done to the Greenwich Picturehouse for putting on something both different and worthwhile!

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