A coming-together of four major talents is captured for posterity in Bob Wilson’s Life and Death of Marina Abramović. Directed by Giada Colagrande, the English-language Italian production is a straightforward behind-the-curtains peek with obvious interest for fans of radical theatre director Robert Wilson, performance artist Abramović, singer/songwriter Antony Hegarty, of Antony and the Johnsons fame, and Willem Dafoe.
Colagrande foregrounds extracts from the rehearsals for The Life and Death of Marina Abramović, the Manhattan-based Serb’s follow-up to the much more austerely conceptual one-woman MoMA show The Artist is Present. An elaborate affair of opulently imaginative production design – with eye-catching hair, costuming and make-up effects – the stage Life and Death is nevertheless a relatively conventional project by Abramović’s avant-garde standards. Devised almost entirely by Wilson, the piece features occasional songs from the effortlessly transcendental Antony Hegarty and copious on-stage narration by a rasp-voiced Dafoe, who steals both show and the film with his exuberantly puckish, white-faced demon-clown persona.
Upbeat talking-head interviews perkily punctuate the politically-charged on-stage shenanigans. Colagrande’s spouse (Willem Dafoe) provides invaluable flashes of flinty humour, grounding what might otherwise have veered off into airy realms of precious self-congratulation.
Neil Young, The Hollywood Reporter