This So-Called Disaster (USA; 89 min.)

directed by: Michael Almereyda
This So-Called Disaster
Diane says: "I wasn't so keen on this docu about the staging of Sam Shepard's 'The Late Henry Moss.' Especially when you compare it to the ne plus ultra of doc's in this category, VANYA ON 42ND STREET!

The snippets of scenes are presented in such a scattershot manner that I couldn't grasp where the play was going. The film doesn't do anything for the play, certainly. The interviews with actors singly or in clumps were like press interviews--standoffish rather than intimate. And points off for bad lighting and jiggly camerawork.

"I don't know anything about the craft of acting, but it seemed that Nick Nolte was way ahead of Sean Penn in rehearsals, which surprised me. 2 cats"

Michael says: "THIS SO-CALLED DISASTER is Michael Almereyda's (HAMLET, NADJA) documentary exploring the pre-production of Sam Shepard's play 'The Late Henry Moss.' Almereyda chronicles the rehearsal process while interviewing Shepard, the actors in the play (Sean Penn, Nick Nolte, Cheech Marin, Sheila Tousey, Woody Harrelson, and John Gammon), as well as others involved in the production like T-Bone Burnette. While waiting for the title of the film's prophecy to flower into some catastrophe during rehearsal, it was interesting to see Shepard's personal story, particularly his relationship with his father, unfold, and be the target of the title's meaning. The film draws the story of Shepard's father out naturally, and within the context of the play, so we're not thoroughly aware that DISASTER is really a biography of Shepard. It's handled skillfully, and worth a look if you're interested. 3 1/2 cats"