Bertolt Brecht spent six years in Los Angeles in the 1940s, one of many European intellectuals fleeing fascism and looking for work in the Hollywood studio system. Disoriented by the Californian climate, despairing of the hyper-capitalist culture of Hollywood, and under close watch of the FBI, Brecht spent his time pitching movie scripts, re-working or translating his plays and attempting to produce theoretical texts to clarify his often misunderstood theatrical techniques. The title of the film is taken from a passage in Brecht's Messingkauf Dialogues, a theoretical work written in exile.
'The Empty Plan' looks at the changing context for Brecht¹s work, as the theatre is superceeded by cinema and the revolutionary movements that informed his polemical approach are destroyed or betrayed. Contrasting Brecht's Hollywood experience with reconstructions of theatrical performances of his plays from the 30s to the 50s, the film will examine what is at stake in different modes of performance and the different techniques that inform actors. We want to look at the relationship between theory and practice and 'committed art' and social movements.
Funded by Arts Council England through Film London Artists' Moving Image Network, co-produced with City Projects and supported by Focal Point Gallery, Staatsgallerie Stuttgart and Kunsthall Oslo.