Podtalk: Director Douglas Tirola Climbs ‘Bernstein’s Wall’

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CHICAGO – Composer/conductor Leonard Bernstein was one of the most influential music icons of the 20th Century, that is never in dispute. The latest doc on his life, “Bernstein’s Wall,” is a philosophical overview bio told by creator/director Douglas Tirola. The film, with a Q&A with the director, will screen at the Chicago Critics Film Festival on November 13th, click LENNY for details.

This is a bright and cerebral biography of composer/conductor Leonard Bernstein, one of the greatest classical music masters of the 20th Century. This force of nature rose from modest and non-musical roots that began by plinking on a piano at age ten to eventually became assistant conductor (and celebrity) at New York’s Philharmonic at age 25 in the 1940s. The key to his greatness was in his teaching method, engaging his audiences with stories of how classical music fits into our humanity. What is striking about “Lenny” is his empathetic intellectualism, how he wanted the world to melt its weapons into the plow shares of music’s beautiful noise. There is a wealth of archival footage to tell his story (narrated by Bernstein’s himself) and Douglas Tirola uses it succinctly and creatively. One of my favorites of the festival, mostly because I love Lenny and the times of his influence.

Bernstein’s Wall
Photo credit: Chicago Critics Film Festival

Douglas Tirola is a veteran producer and director. His documentary topics include poker, the drinking culture (“Hey Bartender”) and most famously National Lampoon (the well received “Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead”). “Bernstein’s Wall” is his eight film as director.

In a Podtalk with Douglas Tirola of “Bernstein’s Wall” by Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com, the director speaks of his approach to Leonard Bernstein and the icon’s life story …

The 2021 Chicago Critics Film Festival takes place through November 14th. For details on films and tickets, click CCFF 2021.

HollywoodChicago.com senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Editor and Film Writer

© 2021 Patrick McDonald, HollywoodChicago.com

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