Usually behind the scenes, Kushner takes center stage in this doc on his life and work

Wrestling With Angels

on October 04, 2006 by Francesca Dinglasan
One of American theater's most thought-provoking and politically astute playwrights takes center stage himself in filmmaker Freida Lee Mock's Wrestling With Angels. A naturally charismatic and entertaining figure, Kushner is utterly watchable. The documentary, however, tends to focus on the frantic pace of his day-to-day schedule, such as work on his most recent play Homebody/Kabul and his collaboration with famed children's author Maurice Sendak. This approach, while offering hints of the varying factors that have shaped and influenced Kushner, never provides a more satisfying examination of the man whose polemics and poetry have resulted in some of the most profound plays to hit the contemporary stage, including his epic masterpiece Wrestling With Angels. Although the analysis is far from deep, Mock's film succeeds as an above-average introduction to the playwright, especially to an audience unfamiliar with his work. Kushner's background as a Jewish homosexual growing up in the Deep South burgh of Lake Charles, La., is an inherently interesting narrative thread in the doc, with a visit to his hometown for his dad's 80th birthday -- during which the patriarch explains that he came to understand that he was “Tchaikovsky's father” because of his son's ear for lyricism in language -- proving particularly moving. Distributor: Balcony
Cast: Tony Kushner
Director/Screenwriter/Producer: Freida Lee Mock
Genre: Documentary
Rating: Not yet rated
Running time: 102 min.
Release Date: October 4, 2006
Tags: Balcony, Tony Kushner, Freida Lee Mock, Documentary, Deep South, playwright, charismatic, poetry

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