Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Pianomania (2009)

WHO: Stefan Knüpfer is the piano tuner profiled in this documentary.

WHAT: I haven't seen this so let me quote from Frako Loden's review from when it screened at the Berlin & Beyond Film Festival in 2010:
For those who love piano and the mysteries of sound, this documentary will be a treat. It's also a 90-minute-long commercial for Steinway & Sons, being a profile of its master tuner Stefan Knüpfer and a career that matches the exacting artistry and high professional standards of the pianists he serves—big names like Lang Lang, Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Alfred Brendel. Knüpfer is remarkably patient and diplomatic with the extremely minute, sometimes incomprehensible demands of the artist preparing for a big performance at a major concert hall.
WHERE/WHEN: Screens for free tonight only at 7:30 PM at a South of Market venue called Parisoma, hosted by Salon97, a local organization that brings the pleasures of classical music to audiences disinclined to seek it out using the traditional paths of academia and the concert hall.

WHY: Pianomania won the Golden Gate Award for Best Documentary Feature at the San Francisco International Film Festival three years ago; if you missed it then or during its brief theatrical run in 2011, tonight's another chance to see it projected with an audience. I'm reminded that earlier this month the SF Film Society which runs the SFIFF, announced the competition slates for the New Directors Prize and the Documentary Feature Golden Gate Awards for 2013 (nominees for short-form categories will be announced with the full festival slate on April 2nd - though even sooner for members). 

As Pianomania was an Austrian/German co-production, and last year's Documentary Feature GGA winner It's The Earth Not The Moon came from Portugal, it's no surprise that the twelve features in competition for that prize this year come from around the world as well; among the competitors are a finnish film about Chinese artists (Chimeras), one about evangelical Christianity in East Africa (God Loves Uganda), one made in Japan by the Mexican director of the wonderful Alamar, Pedro González-Rubio (Inori), a Frisco Bay filmmaker's portrait of Cambodian farmers and fishers (the River Changes Course), a Spanish filmmaker's pilgrimage to find the locations for an avant-garde Man Ray film (The Search for Emak Bakia) and seven others.

HOW: DVD projection of a digitally-produced documentary.

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