DVD Protagonist (DVD 1202240),
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Protagonist

  • R
  • DVD
  • 1 disc
  • Region Free (info)
  • Filmmaker Jessica Yu explores human obsession and extremism in this riveting and provocative documentary. Yu interviews four men with seemingly disparate backgrounds, and then mirrors their experiences to what happens in a Greek tragedy by Euripides, THE BACCHAE. One of the men is Mark Pierpont, who tried to quash his homosexuality by becoming an evangelist and preaching about curing oneself of being gay. Pierpont travelled the world as a missionary and preached to audiences of thousands. Then there is Joe Loya, who as a child, was brutally abused by his father. When Loya came of age, he quickly funnelled his rage into robbing banks, until he was caught and sent to prison. Hans-Joachim Klein also suffered abuse at the hands of his father, after his mother--a Holocaust survivor--committed suicide. Klein went on to join a German terrorist organization, and was involved in the 1976 Entebbe hijacking and several arson attacks. Lastly there is Yu's own husband, Mark Salzman, who was constantly tormented and beaten by high school bullies. In order to gain back some control, he became obsessed with martial arts, and religiously attended the classes of an extremely off-kilter and sadistic karate instructor.

    While each man's story is vastly different, they each travel the same path, wherein they find that their extreme methods ultimately lead them straight into a new kind of madness and pain. Yu manages to deftly weave together the narrative by using short scenes featuring some very striking wooden puppets, which function as a Greek chorus to really bring home Yu's theme: that at the end of the day, it is ultimately character that makes the man. Yu won the Oscar in 1997 for her documentary short, BREATHING LESSONS: THE LIFE AND WORK OF MARK O'BRIEN.
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    • Rating - for language
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): ALVDV4

  • Critic Reviews
    "Yu fits her inventive artistic choices to a rigorous, well-thought-out thesis about the tragedy of the extremist -- and what makes a man a man." -- Grade: B+
    Entertainment Weekly

    "[I]t's thoroughly engrossing and wildly surprising."
    Los Angeles Times

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