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.