Death of Peter Brook, sacred monster of the theater and director of His Majesty of the Flies

British director and filmmaker Peter Brook died on Saturday July 2 at the age of 97. Legend of the scene, he also worked for the cinema, signing in particular “His majesty of the flies” or “Moderato Cantabile”.

LIONEL URMAN / BESTIMAGE

He was one of the biggest names in contemporary theatre… Director Peter Brook left us on Saturday July 2, 2022. He was 97 years old. If his name is associated with the scene, Brook has also made some remarkable forays into the cinema, signing in particular a hallucinating transposition of Marat / Sade and a brutal adaptation of His Majesty of the Flies, according to the masterpiece of William Golding.

early calling

Peter Brook’s passion for the stage goes back to his earliest years, when he staged himself at the age of seven in Hamlet, playing in front of his family. After his studies at Oxford, he quickly moved on to directing for the Royal Shakespeare Academywith Lost love’s pain (1946) or even measure for measure (1950). In 1953, he made his first film: The Beggar’s Opera, in which he directed a legend of the theater and the 7th Art, Laurence Olivier.

His Majesty of the Flies and Sade

In 1962, Peter Brook was appointed director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, a position he held for twenty years. The following year, he wanted to adapt William Golding’s novel, which had become a literary classic: His Majesty of the Flies. The inexperience of the film team did not prevent the work, in the running for the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival, from experiencing great success in theaters. Breaking down barriers between genres, the filmmaker often directs plays or dramas for the theater which he then adapts to the cinema. This is the case in 1966 of Marat Sadefor which he won the Tony Award for Best Director on Broadway. In 1971 in Paris, he founded the “International Center for Theater Research” (CIRT), which becomes when the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord opens, the “International Center for Theatrical Creations” (CTIC). His immense contribution to theatre, British in particular, was rewarded in 1983 with the prestigious Laurence Olivier Theater Award for Outstanding Contribution.

The Mahabharata Monument

With The Tragedy of Carmen, an adaptation of Bizet’s opera, Peter Brook signed his first collaboration with screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière. They work together again on The Mahabharata (1988), a pharaonic project which recounts the painful birth of the world according to one of the founding texts of Hinduism, composed of 100,000 stanzas divided into 18 chapters. First edited for the theatre, the work was then adapted to the cinema in a 3 hour version, and more than 5 hours for television.

Her Majesty of the Flies trailer:

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