The Silent Touch
Time Out saysZanussi's original story starts intriguingly, but needs all the gifts of its star to reach the finishing line. Polish music student Stefan (Bluteau) is troubled by a recurring dream that long inactive composer Henry Kesdi (von Sydow) needs the tune that is running just out of reach through his head in order to start writing again, and hitches off to Denmark to help him. Ill, alcoholic, reclusive, Kesdi first attacks him with a knife, but when Stefan proves to have extraordinary gifts of healing, invites him to move in and starts work again. Their relationship deteriorates as Kesdi reveals the depths of selfishness and manipulation he is capable of, but the work gets finished, and the issue of art versus life gets an airing. Bluteau does his familiar saintly abstemiousness; Miles endures as Kesdi's wife; but the dynamo that drives the production is von Sydow. Violent, coarse, lecherous, cunning, arrogant, his Kesdi is a monster and utterly convincing; without him it would be a chamber work.