The Backstage of Tradition

Midi Z, Obaidah Zytoon, Sarah Yona Zweig
Israel 2014 | 47 Min. | OmeU

What is it like to grow up in a world that is on the verge of dis­ap­pear­ing? Descend­ing from a long line of actors in an ancient Indian the­ater tra­di­tion, the ten-year-old Sree­hari search­es for a stage on which to per­form his art in a world that leaves tra­di­tion behind in its quest for mod­ern­iza­tion. THE BACKSTAGE OF TRADITION accom­pa­nies Sree­hari, a young actor in the Kūṭiyāṭṭam tra­di­tion, the last living rem­nant of ancient Indian drama. In the temple, Sree­hari encoun­ters Kūṭiyāṭṭam as a visual sac­ri­fice to the gods and as a ritual that only those of the actors’ caste are allowed to per­form there. At home, we see him with his par­ents – both dis­tin­guished Kūṭiyāṭṭam per­form­ers. Back­stage, in the sec­u­lar the­ater con­struct­ed by his par­ents out­side the temple walls, Sree­hari wit­ness­es the para­dox of tra­di­tion: in order to keep a tra­di­tion alive, one has to change it. THE BACKSTAGE OF TRADITION is a story about how the trans­for­ma­tions on and off the stage are trans­ferred to a sec­u­lar world. It is a story about the ulti­mate stage – the human face and its meta­mor­pho­sis. (Augohr Medien)