Skip to main content
Classics and discoveries from around the world, thematically programmed with special features, on a streaming service brought to you by the Criterion Collection.
A Master Builder
Directed by Jonathan Demme • 2014 • United States
Twenty years after their brilliant cinema-theater experiment Vanya on 42nd Street, Wallace Shawn and Wallace Shawn and André Gregory reunited to produce another idiosyncratic film version of a classic play, this time Henrik Ibsen's Bygmester Solness (Master Builder Solness). Brought pristinely to the screen by Jonathan Demme, this compellingly abstract reimagining features Shawn (who also wrote the adaptation) as a visionary but tyrannical middle-aged architect haunted by figures from his past, most acutely an attractive, vivacious young woman (the breathtaking newcomer Lisa Joyce) who has appeared on his doorstep. Also featuring standout supporting performances by Julie Hagerty, Larry Pine, and Gregory, A Master Builder, like Vanya, is the result of many years of rehearsals, a living, breathing, constantly shifting work that unites theater, film, and dream.