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They Came to Play (2008)

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Chronicles the Fifth International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs, hosted by The Van Cliburn Foundation. Players from all over the world, ranging from self-taught to ... See full summary »

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Henri Robert Delbeau ...
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Mark Fuller ...
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Clark Griffith ...
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Ken Iisaka ...
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Slava Levin ...
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Drew Mays ...
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Suzanna Perez ...
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Richard Rodzinski ...
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Esfir Ross ...
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Kathy Trafton ...
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Chronicles the Fifth International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs, hosted by The Van Cliburn Foundation. Players from all over the world, ranging from self-taught to classically-trained, aged thirty-five to almost eighty, convene in Fort Worth, Texas for a week of intense competition, music and camaraderie. The film the film provides an intimate look into the lives of these colorful, multi-faceted competitors as they strive to balance the demands of work and family with their love of music. Years of dedicated preparation culminate in critical performances before a professional jury and discerning audience during three nerve-wracking elimination rounds. Written by Anonymous

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Documentary | Music

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25 October 2008 (USA)  »

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They came to play for love, not for money
20 February 2009 | by (Paris, France) – See all my reviews

This is a "Spellbound" about music (for those you have seen this documentary about Spelling Bee competition). The film follows a group of pianists during a yearly Amateur Piano Competition held in Texas in the United States.

The film is greatly edited, is entertaining and very witty. Moldovan housewife from the former USSR now living in California - Esfir is really touching, as well as an ophthalmologist from Alabama and many other contestants. There are software engineers, a TV producer, a flight attendant and a federal judge.

They are all are over forty and have day jobs. And some of them have overcome something quite challenging in their lives - AIDS... heartbreak... political asylum...

And, what is also important - the film celebrates great classical music: from Beethoven's The Tempest - to Rachmaninoff and Bach, Haydn and Chopin. A contestant or two will crash and burn on stage, but nobody's career will be ruined. In fact, there is nothing "amateur" about most of these pianists - some of them are brilliant - like Drew Mays - and they came to play for love, not for money.


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