Ethan Hawke directs and appears in this American documentary whose subject is Seymour Bernstein, a renowned pianist who stopped performing in concerts at age fifty and began teaching.
Bernstein is a delightful man in his eighties whose philosophies of life interchange with those of his art. During the film, he mentors Hawke who is now reflecting on his own choices of life and art.
Some of the best dialogue occurs at the beginning and end of the film when the amiable Bernstein speaks of the conflict of trying to mix the inner soul of an artist with the outer commercial and social worlds. It is also fascinating to hear him speak of nervousness before performing. More movie time, however, is spent in his teaching techniques. While this is less interesting than the other discussions, this remains a fine film overall.
There is genuine modesty in Bernstein's personality (compare him to the many less talented people who hire publicists) and likewise that of Hawke for openly admitting his own insecurities. And there is nearly always beautiful classical piano music in the background.
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