Poland | 2023 | 89 min
Languages : Polish, English, Italian, Russian, Slovenian, Chinese, Cantonese, Chinese Regional Dialects
Subtitles : English, French
Every five years, Warsaw is home to one of the world’s most prestigious musical contests: the International Chopin Piano Competition, whose past editions have been won by stars like Li Yundi, Martha Argerich or Maurizio Pollini. Pianoforte takes its audience backstage, in between recitals, inside hotel rooms and empty hallways. It spends time with half a dozen participating pianists as they refine a mazurka with their tutors, play video games to relax or struggle with the anxiety generated by the pressure of the event. And the pressure is at its apex: most musicians spend their lifetime preparing for the event. Director Jakub Piątek intelligently weaves together the beauty and thrill aroused by Chopin’s music, heard throughout the film, with the consequence its playing can sometimes have on the mental health of its interpreters. A real ensemble film, in which all the cast members play from the same set of scores, but where, enhanced by a skilful and subtle montage and sound mixing, we get to see and hear the many different responses to the same music.
Dimitri de Preux