Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Top Customer Reviews
* a martial arts student (Mark Salzman)
* a German terrorist (Hans Klein)
* an ex-gay evangelist (Mark Pierpont)
* a bank robber (Joe Loya)
The premise for this documentary is to attempt to make connections between Euripidean tragedy & modern life. Whether the documentarian achieves this goal is debatable; nevertheless, the four subjects chosen for study have fascinating stories to tell.
Why Euripides? Euripides was known for his strong female characters (Medea), his intelligent slaves, and his willingness to mock the conventional heroes & hero worship of ancient & classical Greece. Euripides also strikes many modern scholars as being the most modern of all of the Greek tragedians as he was the one most concerned with the inner life & what truly motivates each man or woman's actions.
I think the film is extremely strong, but would have been stronger had there been at least one female protagonist in the mix. In one of the bonus features on this DVD director Jessica Yu (whose In the Realms of the Unreal, 2004, is also a terrific documentary) discusses how she chose her four subjects. The intention was not to choose four men, however, four men were indeed chosen out of 200 candidates because they each had strong narrative arcs & strong narrative voices. Also according to Yu, these four men were chosen because each had a moment in their lives when they "crashed" while the women candidates that pursued equally obsessive life courses did not crash but "crumbled". This difference strikes me as possibly the most fascinating observation in this documentary and had Yu chosen at least one female protagonist this difference could have been explored.Read more ›
Euripides featuring puppets, but after some initial skepticism, I was won
over by the stories of the four men. To some, the puppets may be jarring
(this might be the only movie I've ever seen featuring puppet violence),
but they do play an integral role in tying together four very different,
but similar stories.
The four protagonists- Mark Salzman, a martial arts enthusiast yearning
for dignity, Mark Pierpont, a Christian evangelist struggling with his
homosexuality, Hans-Joachim Klein, a left-wing German terrorist, and Joe
Loya, a serial bank robber- each have a fascinating story to tell, and Yu
interweaves their narratives with quotes from Euripides' The Bacchae in a
way that provides a cohesive structure to the movie.
What struck me about the stories is how much these men grow up in the
shadow of their families, in particular their fathers. The expectations
and demands of masculinity haunt and shape their lives in a way that
inevitably leads to agony for them and those around them, and this is
where I think their tales most closely mirror Greek tragedy. Inevitably,
each man experiences a painful 'catharsis' that dramatically reshapes
What I find truly unique about this documentary is its focus on the
masculine experience, how our parents and our backgrounds can set our
lives in seemingly irreversible directions, and how the sometimes crushing demands of manhood can overwhelm any other motivation. Intending to do a documentary on Euripides, Jessica Yu reminds us that Greek tragedy, too often relegated to required reading for disinterested high schoolers, is still incredibly relevant to contemporary life.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
In each of the four cases, while it is either an internal or external stimulus that caused these men to stray from their own self, it was the profound experience of their... Read morePublished 2 months ago by knowledge actor
These seemingly random stories end up being four separate tales of men discovering the meaning of life--and then having the grace and humility to admit they were (at least... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Susanne
4 very interesting cases.....presented very artistically
Life as a Greek tragedy......something to think about
I really enjoyed watching . Unique stories that gifts us an opportunity to walk a mile in their shoes...Published 3 months ago by lisagna
Puppets were a little hard to get used to, but they grew on me. Interesting stories.Published 6 months ago by C. L. Peper
I LOVED this artful and compelling documentary in which four people describe the arcs of their lives. Read morePublished 7 months ago by LR
Three interesting stories and one not so interesting. The connection to Greek Tragedy and Euripides is tenuous at best, but the 'Greek puppet' segments are actually quite... Read morePublished 9 months ago by R. Dean