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ITZHAK is a warm and entertaining portrait of famous violinist Itzhak Perlman.


It‘s virtually impossible to resist Itzhak Perlman‘s charm. The violin virtuoso is a unpretentious, funny, and thoughtful storyteller and conversation partner, and Alison Cernik, who has made numerous artist portraits including ones on Jeff Koons, Matthew Barney, and Steve McQueen, mostly shows Perlman talking to friends and colleagues and at work, never in talking head interviews. ITZHAK is almost an everyday portrait of the musician, Cernick shows his career highlights in a short collage. His life themes slowly become apparent in the conversations. Perlman talks about his early discrimination because of his polio when conservatories didn‘t want to accept any boys with disabilities. Perlman even says that his first appearance on the Ed Sullivan show in 1958 didn‘t just happen because of his violin playing. The maestro can make music, and he speaks about violin playing in what he says is an “esoteric“ way. The violin is too complicated an instrument to elicit emotion by playing it right technically, says Perlman. There has to be something more to it, but what that is is something the master can only describe in ex negativo, metaphors, and contradictions. It isn‘t a concept but a sound that starts out in one‘s head. Needless to say, ITZHAK includes exquisite music. His wife Toby Lynn says she immediately asked Itzhak to marry her after hearing him play “Tzigane“ from Ravel. It‘s easy to believe her, even though it‘s a Strauss sonata in a different version of the story.


Translation: Elinor Lewy


Israel/USA 2017, 82 min
Genre: Documentary, Biography, Music Films
Director: Alison Chernick
Author: Alison Chernick
Distributor: Arsenal Filmverleih
Release: 09.08.2018


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