Seymour: An Introduction 

Ethan Hawke's new documentary on concert-pianist-turned-teacher Seymour Bernstein is a fresh-air break in a cool, quiet garden high above the noise of the street.

mg_movies2_3723.jpg

Actor-turned-filmmaker Ethan Hawke met concert-pianist-turned-teacher Seymour Bernstein at a dinner party. They hit it off so well that Hawke decided to profile Bernstein in a documentary, Seymour: An Introduction. Leaving aside the nagging question of why Hawke decided to give the doc the same title as J.D. Salinger's 1959 novella, it's an idiosyncratic, very personal portrait of an inspiring musical sensibility.

In the spirit of Louis Malle's My Dinner with Andre — and in the milieu of such only-in-Manhattan stories as Herb & Dorothy and Bill Cunningham New York — Hawke's unobtrusive camera observes Bernstein interacting with his master-class piano students in the tiny flat where he has lived for 57 years. They clearly admire their maestro as much as Hawke does, probably because of Bernstein's utter devotion to the emotional and spiritual dimensions of the music. To listen to him describe how the work of Schumann or Beethoven affects him is to enter the world of the awed devotee, always alert for the "one quiet note played for a secret eavesdropper," as Bernstein describes one his favorite pieces.

Compared to the over-stimulation of most mass-market films, 84 minutes with Mr. Bernstein is a fresh-air break in a cool, quiet garden high above the noise of the street, a murmuring discourse on life and happiness from a born communicator who caresses the keys. You'll be glad Hawke invited you to meet him.

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Anonymous and pseudonymous comments will be removed.

Latest in Movie Review

  • Black Cinema

    Fifteen Black-themed films you should've already seen.
    • Jun 10, 2020
  • A Star is Bored

    Coming soon to a screen near you: your own Covid-19-themed horror feature
    • May 27, 2020
  • Crossing the Streams

    From the new releases everyone's talking about to the cult classics they should be, here are five things to stream and skip this week.
    • Apr 22, 2020
  • More »

Author Archives

  • Black Cinema

    Fifteen Black-themed films you should've already seen.
    • Jun 10, 2020
  • Drive, He Said

    Ken Loach takes pity on an independent contractor delivery driver in Sorry We Missed You.
    • Mar 13, 2020
  • More»

Most Popular Stories

Special Reports

The Beer Issue 2020

The Decade in Review

The events and trends that shaped the Teens.

Best of the East Bay

2020

© 2020 Telegraph Media    All Rights Reserved
Powered by Foundation