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Two Hands: The Leon Fleisher Story (2006)

In 1964, Leon Fleisher's career as a concert pianist was thriving. A seemingly minor accident - a cut on his right thumb - led to dystonia, the involuntary curling of his right hand's ring ... See full summary »

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Leon Fleisher ...
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Daniel B. Drachman ...
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Tessy Brungardt ...
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Matt Haimovitz ...
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Andy Simionescu ...
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Katherine Jacobson-Fleisher ...
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Ben Kim ...
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Almo Pagin ...
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Regina Shenderovich ...
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Erikson Rojas ...
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In 1964, Leon Fleisher's career as a concert pianist was thriving. A seemingly minor accident - a cut on his right thumb - led to dystonia, the involuntary curling of his right hand's ring and little fingers. In recent interviews, Fleisher talks about what followed: the end of a marriage, despair and disappointments, surgery in 1983 that led to a brief return to the concert hall, and, finally, with Botox and Rolfing, the ability to play with two hands. In between, Fleisher discovers his ecstasies: conducting, teaching, and playing compositions for one hand commissioned in the early twentieth century for a World War I veteran. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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11 August 2006 (USA)  »

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Featured in The 79th Annual Academy Awards (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Short but Sweet
18 February 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Nathaniel Kahn has mastered the art of the short documentary, with one of the shortest and most concise works I've ever seen. Clocking in at only seventeen minutes, Two Hands is simple and moving, containing nothing that doesn't need to be there. I was blessed to see the film on the big screen with the director present for a Q&A, and it was quite an experience.

The movie tells the tragic (and triumphant) story of acclaimed concert pianist Leon Fleisher, who lost the use of his right hand in an accident. He overcame this obstacle by playing only left-handed pieces, conducting, and teaching, and years later, through experimental medical treatments, regained the use of his second hand.

As simple as the story it tells seems to be, the film is even simpler, and should be praised for this fact. As Mr. Kahn said in his post-screening discussion, this is how long the film wanted to be, and his job was simply to shave off the extra bits to get it there. At this, he succeeded. Fleisher's story is presented without overdoing anything, and the power of his experiences and his interesting character were both strong enough to carry the entire film.

It's difficult to write much more about a movie that was shorter than it's taken me to write this much, so I won't even attempt it. This is how long my thoughts on this film want to be, so I will let them be so.


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