This intimate look at one of the towering figures of 20th-Century music highlights the storied career, vigorous activism, and tumultuous private life of Leonard Bernstein.
The Harvard-educated son of Russian Jewish immigrants, Leonard Bernstein rose to fame as the conductor of the New York Philharmonic and remained a subject of public fascination, adoration, and occasional controversy for the rest of his life. BERNSTEIN’S WALL highlights major accomplishments from the composer and conductor’s illustrious career as well as the defining facets of his personal life, from his complicated marriage to his conflicted relationship with his sexuality. Those only familiar with Bernstein’s musical legacy may be surprised to learn about the way politics informed his life and public image, often leading him into controversy with his support for leftist political causes. Director Douglas Tirola takes an unconventional approach to the bio-doc, eschewing strictly linear storytelling and contemporary talking heads in favor of an evocative collage of home movies, performance recordings, photos, and words from Bernstein’s correspondences. Tirola draws extensively on a number of recorded interviews conducted throughout Bernstein’s life, and the film feels suffused with the maestro’s own voice and spirit.
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