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A feature-length cinéma vérité portrait of one of the world's greatest stage directors at work, shot over the course of a year. From his first sketches in pencil until opening night, we witness Carsen's creative processes as he adapts Leonard Bernstein's CANDIDE, based on one of the greatest political satires of all time: Voltaire’s 18th century short novel, CANDIDE, OR OPTIMISM.


Robert Carsen's name is not well known to the general public, but he is revered by many of the heads of theaters, museums, and opera houses in North America and Europe. While Carsen’s primary focus is bringing an audacious, contemporary visual style to classical operas, his wide-ranging work ranges from KARL FOR EVER, a 2019 tribute to Karl Lagerfeld for the Grand Palais in Paris, to a cowboy show for Disneyland Paris which has been running for 25 years. His recent and up- coming works schedule can be seen at carsen/14779/en 

See also this May, 2019 interview with Robert Carsen in the New York Times


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Is the world we live in “The best of all possible worlds”? Since Voltaire ridiculed this kind of optimism in his 1759 masterpiece, “Candide, or Optimism”, surprisingly little has changed. In 1956, American composer Leonard Bernstein turned Candide into a musical comedy attacking America's hypocritical suppression of dissent, as McCarthyism flourished amidst the unparalleled optimism of 1950’s postwar America. Today, the great theater director Robert Carsen is reinventing Candide again, with up-to-date political satire, radically innovative staging, and stunning designs. We witness Carsen’s creative processes unfolding from their earliest stages through opening night.

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