Theater of War (image 1)

Inspired, inspiring... There is much to admire in a movie in which intelligent adults... discuss art as if it matters.

Manohla Dargis, NY Times

Screened as part of NZIFF 2009

Theater of War 2008

Directed by John Walter

A 2006 New York revival of Mother Courage in New York starring Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline provides the foundation for an invigorating consideration of the enduring significance of the theatre of Bertolt Brecht.

USA In English
96 minutes Colour and B&W

Director, Editor


Nina Santisi


Felix Andrew
John Walter


Robert Miller


Meryl Streep
Tony Kushner
George C. Wolfe
Kevin Kline
Jay Cantor
Barbara Brecht-Schall
Oskar Eustis
Jeanine Tesori
Carl Weber


Tribeca 2008


“The Public Theater's 2006 revival of Mother Courage in New York, starring Meryl Streep (and Kevin Kline), provides the foundation for a canny reintroduction to the ever-invigorating Bertolt Brecht. John Walter skilfully layers together rehearsal moments, archival audio of startling immediacy, and interviews with Streep, Tony Kushner (who wrote the production's translation), Brecht associates, and others. Theater of War reveals its subject, who fled the Nazis in the early Thirties, to be an evolving thinker (now boiled down in critical usage to the ‘Brechtian’ chestnut)... The mix of hybrid approach and vivid detail bring Brecht into sharp focus.” — Nicolas Rapold, Film Comment

“For anyone interested in the continuing relevance of theater in a society dominated by momentary electronic impulses, in the responsibility of artists in wartime and in the greatest anti-capitalist, anti-government, antiwar and anti-romantic playwright of the 20th century, Walter's cool, capable, stimulating exploration is a must.” — Andrew O'Hehir,