For classical buffs, the presence in this documentary of pianists such as Alfred Brendel, Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Lang Lang probably constitutes recommendation enough. Yet this Austrian offering is too intriguing and entertaining to be left to the specialists. True, a full 90-odd minutes following a top Vienna piano technician may sound somewhat academic, but documentaries are about people and the camera loves Stephan Knüpfer, a keyboard obsessive whose pixie-ish sense of humour allows him to see the absurdity in his work – probably why he helps out with a piano-mangling comedy duo for light relief. Elsewhere, it’s surprisingly compelling to watch this master of his craft at work under the hood, as he struggles to prepare for Aimard’s first Bach recording. We also learn to listen, since the soundtrack captures every last reverberation of the notes tapering into nothingness. Such is the madness of perfection in a captivating film not just for pianomaniacs.
Friday August 20 2010
Robert Cibis, Lilian Franck