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In Search of Beethoven (2009)

7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 254 users   Metascore: 71/100
Reviews: 8 user | 49 critic | 8 from Metacritic.com

The first truly comprehensive feature length cinema documentary ever made about Beethoven. With over 60 live performances.

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Title: In Search of Beethoven (2009)

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Cast

Credited cast:
Emanuel Ax ...
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Jonathan Biss ...
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Riccardo Chailly ...
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Alban Gerhardt ...
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Hélène Grimaud ...
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Janine Jansen ...
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Roger Norrington ...
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Ilona Schmiel ...
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Lars Vogt ...
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The first truly comprehensive feature length cinema documentary ever made about Beethoven. With over 60 live performances. Written by Seventh Art Productions

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'The one film you need to see on Beethoven'


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10 July 2009 (USA)  »

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Great music, but less than revealing documentary
18 July 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

It must be an exceptionally rare person, who is not moved by Beethoven's music. Thus, a film, like this, that includes lots of his music, in some very good performances, is bound to please many. However, it did not live up to the advertisement, which drew me to the Siskel Film Center to see Grabsky's opus, and which promised new insights into the life of this musical god. I think that the film tries to cover too much, and ends up being fragmentary and rehashing old ground. Even a film that is 139 minutes long, cannot adequately encompass most of Beethoven's life and music, as this documentary attempts to do. There are a few revealing insights, like the story of the young Beethoven's attempt to con his teacher, Haydn, into interceding with the Elector of Bonn to increase Beethoven's stipend, when he was studying in Vienna. But even this (new to me) story is not used to try to explain more about Beethoven. For the most part, this is a static film, that relies on talking heads and interminable footage of Beethoven's familiar portraits. One of the few talking heads, who actually has interesting things to say about Beethoven's music, and who also reveals himself as a very human, self-deprecating artist, is Emanual Ax. Too many others offer no special insights, and only mouth the same tired platitudes. In summary, this film is enjoyable for the music, but don't expect to learn many new insights about this great composer.


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