In Search of Beethoven

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“If we had to pick ten things that are great about humanity, there would probably be several Beethoven works amongst them.” Sparked by that appraisal from an unseen authority, documentarian Phil Grabsky launches into an investigation of the composer’s life, providing insights into an audacious talent who could either delight or baffle his contemporaries. Beethoven’s painful insecurities and petty squabbles are deftly balanced with generous musical examples. Honorifics like the opening quotation liberally punctuate the film, but so do frank, even irreverent observations from scholars and musicians. The results do justice to a complex genius whose impact can scarcely be overstated.—Steve Smith

Opens Fri; Cinema Village. Find showtimes

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