8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Nelson Freire: a quite good documentary, a wonderful portrait of a great artist!
Wilson Cavalcanti from São José dos Campos, Brazil
5 May 2003
João Moreira Salles' "Nelson Freire" is a film-documentary about the
Brazilian pianist, who is certainly among the five great pianists of the
Nelson Freire is a quite discreet / shy person and João Salles respected
this feature of his personality. During almost two years he followed the
pianist around the world to compose a film, made of 31 thematic sections
cover the many aspects of the life of this genius of the
A single interview given by Nelson Freire to João Salles in the last days
the filming was conveniently used during all movie to portray the pianist
a remarkable way.
In the documentary, Nelson Freire is seen in his house, in the back stage
his concerts and rehearsing alone or with his close friend, the notable
pianist Marta Argerich, also among the top world pianists, who he met when
he was a teenager. He was also filmed after the concerts, giving
and talking - in his special way - with fans.
One of the best and full of emotion moments is the reading made of a
of his father to Freire when he was only 6 years old, in which he mentions
the tough decision to move the family from a small city in the country of
Brazil to Rio de Janeiro, then the Federal Capital, to allow for the boy -
already recognized as prodigy - to continue his piano studies.
Also full of emotion is the moment when Nelson Freire makes a touching
musical reverence to the legendary (Brazilian) pianist Guiomar Novaes,
used to call him as the "little Rubinstein". She enters the movie when
Nelson Freire, at home, plays one of his recordings of a melody from
Christoph Willibald Gluck's "Orfeo ed Euridice". Which is also played by
as a "bis" of one of his recitals.
Some remarkable and quite interesting for the music fans are the sequences
of rehearsals with Martha Argerich and with the St Petesburg orchestra and
those of Nelson Freire "polishing" a difficult part of Brahms' second
There is also room for humor in the documentary. Besides his unique and
hilarious sequence in an interview to a French TV, Nelson Freire is caught
in a very funny "fight" with a specific piano Steinway, hours before a
recital. Then, he seems to treat the piano like a living creature and
mentions that "this piano does not like me, although I have not done
anything to it."
Indeed, João Salles managed to make a quite good and, mostly, a touching
movie about a great artist, respecting Nelson Freire's personality,
Do not expect a film strictly about Nelson Freire's life. This is a film
about an artist, about life, about music.
It is a film for those who enjoy a good documentary; however, it is a
"must", a wonderful picture especially for those who also enjoy good
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