Gottfried Helnwein and The Dreaming Child

Release date:November 23, 2012

Studio:First Run Features

Director:Lisa Kirk Colburn

MPAA Rating:N/A




Plot Summary:

"The world is a haunted house, and Helnwein is our tour guide through it." - Actor, director and activist Sean Penn "Gottfried Helnwein and The Dreaming Child" offers a rare and intimate glimpse into the creation of The Child Dreams, an opera designed by world-famous Austrian artist Gottfried Helnwein for the Israeli Opera in Tel Aviv in 2010. The Child Dreams is based on the play written by Israel's most famous and celebrated playwright, Hanoch Levin, who died in 1999. The libretto portrays the hopes and dreams of children in search of freedom and peace. Helnwein was chosen as production designer because the themes of childhood are a motif through much of his work and because of his LA Opera production of Der RosenCavalier, which was brought to the Israeli Opera in 2005. Film Director, Lisa Kirk Colburn, takes viewers on the stage and behind the scenes to choreographic sessions, rehearsals, the makeup room, and set construction. The film captures the escalating clashes between the purist production designer Helnwein, who is determined to stay true to what he believes is the writer's original vision, and the opinions of the Israeli Opera production team. Helnwein's insistence that the protagonist is played by an actual child, as Levin states in his libretto, is pitted against the director Omri Nitzan's desire to cast an adult portraying a small child, causing a passionate dispute between the Viennese artist and the Israeli team. In the 4th Act, Levin writes about a pile of dead children. Finding this image impractical for stage, Helnwein masterfully creates a set using real children suspended in air. With additional images he gives the audience the illusion that there are endless dead children slowly spinning while singing of their many lost hopes and dreams. What results is a visual feast for the eyes that resonates beyond the opera world.