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This exhilarating, essayistic documentary about the 1980 festival of experimental theatre in the French city of Nancy was Werner Schroeter's favourite of his own films.
"The most important, the most beautiful and the most inspired film by a German director in 1980" (Eckhart Schmidt), Dress Rehearsal was Schroeter's favourite of his own films, and with good reason. A daring and exhilarating essay-report on the 1980 experimental theatre festival in Nancy, the film is "less straight documentary than a personal, weirdly sweet vision of the human comedy" (J. Hoberman, The Village Voice). Collaging performances by the Pina Bausch ensemble, Sankai Juko, Kazuo Ohno, and Pat Oleszko and The Kipper Kids with a meditation on Hitler and General Motors and scenes of Schroeter contemplating the nature of his own art, soaring from beloved arias by Strauss, Verdi, and Puccini to some choice Mahler, Dress Rehearsal teems with privileged moments. Throughout, the desire for love and belonging seems central to the act of creation, no matter how eccentric or forbidding the artist. "A model for the whole art-doc genre" (Hoberman).