Absolute Wilson (2006)
That’s how filmmaker Katharina Otto-Bernstein sums up her new documentary Absolute Wilson, a richly provocative and moving portrait of one of the most visionary theater artists of our time, the legendary Robert Wilson. The film delivers a surprisingly candid look at Robert Wilson the man, who drops his characteristic reticence and speaks with astonishing candor about his personal life: his troubled and lonely childhood as the son of the Mayor of Waco, Texas; his early learning disabilities; his work with disabled children using therapy as a tool for artistic expression; his departure from Texas at the time of his coming out and his fascination with the downtown New York avant-garde scene of the late 60’s. What emerges is a life full of impressions, colors and rhythms, making it all the more poignant how Wilson’s early hardships ultimately shaped his ground-breaking aesthetic vision, creating some of the most historic theatre and opera productions of the twentieth century. All told, it is a remarkable tale of a shy, stuttering boy’s triumph over adversity. As director Otto-Bernstein exuberantly puts it, Absolute Wilson “tells a story for everyone to see how anything’s possible -- it really is an extraordinary American success story.