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USA, 2012, 105 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Drama, Medical/Health, MusicLanguage: English
DIRECTOR: Yaron Zilberman
Producer: Vanessa Coifman, David Faigenblum, Emanuel Michael, Tamar Sela, Mandy Tagger, Yaron ZilbermanEditor: Yuval SharScreenwriter: Seth Grossman, Yaron ZilbermanCinematographer: Frederick ElmesPrincipal Cast: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Christopher Walken, Imogen Poots, Catherine Keener, Mark Ivanir, Wallace Shawn
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Actor Mark Ivanir and Director Yaron Zilberman In-Person!
When cellist Peter (Christopher Walken) quietly informs his string-quartet colleagues that he’s been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, dramatic passions rise from within their artistic souls. As this drama that explores musical expression begins, a celebrated Manhattan-based ensemble, the Fugue, is about to embark upon its 26th season. Yaron Zilberman’s fiction feature debut follows the four musicians’ reactions to the news that the Fugue’s future must include a new cellist or possibly see the quartet dissolve. Second violinist Robert (Philip Seymour Hoffman) sees in the impending shakeup a chance to share first chair occasionally. When he suggests the idea, first violinist Daniel (Mark Ivanir) is outraged. Violist Juliette (Catherine Keener), who’s shakily married to Robert, finds herself in the middle of this artistic squabble. Their cynical daughter, Alexandra (Imogen Poots), an attractive violinist who studies with Daniel, is also affected. A quarter-century of perceived slights and unspoken resentments come to the fore.
A healthy list of musical trainers groomed the four actors well, producing convincing close-ups of fingerings and string crossings as they play short phrases on screen. The soundtrack and score by Angelo Badalamenti, featuring works by Haydn, Bach and Strauss, segues smoothly into the dramatic action. Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 14 in C-sharp minor, opus 131, performed by the Brentano String Quartet here, is David’s passionate favorite. Badalamenti and photography director Frederick Elmes are veterans of director David Lynch’s work. Set in New York’s Upper East Side and Central Park, the film brings Woody Allen’s favorite venues to mind.
- JULIET SHERWOOD
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