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The Touch (1992)

Dotkniecie reki (original title)
Henry Kesdi is a silenced classical composer and a survivor of the Holocaust. He is coaxed out from retirement by an inspired musicologist, Stefan, who convinces him to compose a complex ... See full summary »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Henry Kesdi
Annette Berg (as Sofie Grabol)
Aleksander Bardini ...
Prof. Jerzy Kern
Beata Tyszkiewicz ...
Slawomira Lozinska ...
Doctor's wife
Peter Hesse Overgaard ...
Lars Lunøe ...
Trevor Cooper ...
Stanislaw Brejdygant ...
Maja Ploszynska ...
Eugenia Herman ...
Mrs. Olsen
Krystyna Sznerr-Mierzejewska ...
Applicant (as Krystyna Mierzejewska)
Wiktor Zborowski ...


Henry Kesdi is a silenced classical composer and a survivor of the Holocaust. He is coaxed out from retirement by an inspired musicologist, Stefan, who convinces him to compose a complex symphony on his neglected piano. As a help Kesdi gets his new musical secretary. His loyal wife reluctantly accepts her as his young lover. Written by Polish Cinema Database <http://info.fuw.edu.pl/Filmy/>

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Drama | Music


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Release Date:

5 November 1993 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Touch  »

Filming Locations:


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Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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User Reviews

All you need is love
22 January 2007 | by (Zagreb, Croatia) – See all my reviews

What would someone do for the person he/she loves? Someone would kill for love. Someone would suffer for love. It only depends on the person.

"Silent Touch" is full of different forms of love. Deep, everlasting love Helene feels for Henry. Stephane's passionate love for art that is incorporated in Henry. Henry's cynical love for himself (and it is also superficial, because he isn't capable to give all his love to anyone). Anette's love for image of Henry. Horn's love for ideal of art that can't be personalised. Stephan's admiring love for Helene the martyr. Henry's mostly sexual love for Anette. Stephan's germ of love (or attraction) for Anette, rejected by her, and given up by him (for the sake of Henry).

The only person that expresses any violence is Henry the artist. He breaks cups when he is angry, he even hurts Stephan (though unintentionally, but with rather severe consequences). Yet, it seems it should be forgiven to him, because he is above all of them, he is the artist. Quod licet Iovi non licet bovi. But though we might blame Zanussi for this attitude, history shows us countless examples of "great" people who were weird, manic, lunatic, impossible to live with. However, if they were unable to lead such a life probably they wouldn't do (artistic, scientific etc) work they've been praised for. And we neglect their personality because of all the good things they did to all of us.

We have only one character that we seem we should dislike, Joseph the nephew. The man that's been taking financial care of Henry for 40 years. He keeps doing it as his duty, because he is his closest relative (this is something most modern people wouldn't understand unless being Jews themselves). Maybe there were some incomes Henry was gaining for his old works, but as it was classic music it's hard to believe it was a big sum of money. So, when after all these years Joseph dares to mention all what he has been giving and what he is expected do give in future, Henry explodes and destroys tea service (probably bought by Joseph). Finally Joseph refuses to be a sponsor of Henry's new work (because he helped Henry as Jew has to do, but it was Henry who denied Jewish traditions) until a possible loss of income occurred (remember, he's a Jew). No, I don't see why I should like Joseph, but neither why should I hate him. Being a martyr is simply not acceptable for everyone, some people still live in real world.

Max von Sydow gave us again a magnificent role. Sarah Miles as an actress stayed self-denying as her character is. We almost don't notice her, this is not the best for her but it is great for movie (and a great actress like her doesn't have to impose and prove herself anyway). Sofie Grabol had another weird artist-inspiration role. Both in "Silent Touch" and "Ovira" she admires the artist, she is a young girl impressed by the fame (without glamour) of an old composer/painter; but with completely different reactions: von Sydow pays all attention to her, putting her on the altar of his work (and life) while Sutherland used only the shape of her body having her only as a substitute for his absent model.

This chamber drama won't be widely accepted. It is maybe a bit more dynamic than European 60's dramas, but it has the same spirit. I can see no reason for people who put Hollywood movies on their own top-lists to lose time on this movie. They'll only get new evidence that European movies are must to avoid. Others are welcome. They'll get new evidence that European movie, though badly injured by intercontinental missiles, still breathes. Or at least did in 1992.

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