New York Premiere

Belgium | 90 MINUTES | English |


When Julian Beck passed away in 1985, many feared that The Living Theater would die along with him. Nearly 20 years later and still under the direction of his wife and cofounder, Judith Malina, the Living is still preaching its message of unconditional peace, nonviolence, and absolute freedom. Conceived in the shadows of World War II, Beck and Malina's idealistic lovechild spent its teething years in the underground of New York's theater scene presenting avant-garde political dramas. Challenging stage convention and along with it conventional wisdom, the group often performed naked and tackled taboo subjects, like The Brig's scandalous portrayal of the U.S. Marines and its current condemnation of the U.S. military campaign in Iraq. Not having made many friends in the establishment, the Living left for Europe in the 1960s for greater artistic freedom. They became legends, turning town squares, jails, mental hospitals, and, of course, the occasional stage into soapboxes for their anarchist-pacifist productions. Traveling to war-ravaged countries like Lebanon, the Living conducts workshops to engage and inspire activism among locals; for some, their message is too optimistic, and for others it is a mantra by which to live. Lyrical, but not the lighthearted fare of Broadway musicals, the Living's emotional performances resonate with ecclesiastic wails of mourning and anguished screams of torture. Truly living what they preach, the Living's story has become that of a political refugee constantly seeking asylum for its utopian stance. Narrated and codirected by former troupe member, Dirk Szuszies, Resist covers nearly 60 years of "Living" through archival and present-day footage.


Directed by Dirk Szuszies, Karin Kaper, and Erik Moe

Karin Kaper was Born in Bremen, Germany, on June 26, 1959. She studied acting at the Bildertheater and film with Janusz Przewozny in Berlin, and is a cofounder of ZATA Theatre, also starring in many of its productions. With Szuszies, Kaper codirected the features The Last Mahadevi and Resist, which won the Europa Cinema Award for Best Documentary, Viareggio. Current projects include Bloody Blue Paradise, a documentary about a courageous non-violent peace project in Sri Lanka. Dirk Szuszies was born in Dortmund, Germany, on October 20, 1956. His documentary (codirected with Kaper) The Last Mahadevi, which chronicled the story of Inge Sargent, an Austrian student in the '50s who became the Princess of Burma until a military coup put an end to her fairy tale, won the Viewers' Best Film Award at the 2000 Ethnological Film Festival in Berlin. An author, director and actor, Szuszies cofounded the ZATA theater in Germany in 1985. He is currently developing Needles in the Head and documentaries Colfax Avenue, Bus No. 15 and Ben & Baba, Father and Son.