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Ronita Torcato

A little chit, a little chat, a little bit of this & that;meaning news, views & lotsa reviews from an independent journo based in Bombay aka Mumbai


DocEdge, a cutting edge Film Festival at Max Mueller Bhavan (GoetheHaus) Mumbai

DocEdge, a documentary Film Festival  comprising 11 award-winning documentaries and a selection of entries from DOK Leipzig Film Festival as well as other award-winning films from Baltic states, China and India were screened at the Goethe Hall of the Max Mueller Bhavan, Mumbai.
Technical problems however put paid to the inaugural (Aug 22 ) screening of Gereon Wetzel and Jörg Adolph's"How to make a book with Steid" and instead, the audience was treated to the closing day's documentary,Pianomania – In search of the perfect Sound" a 93 minute film directed by Lilian Franck and Robert Cibis.

It's a gem of a film about the humble piano tuner who is indispensable to the pianist.Stefan Knüpfer, a piano tuner for Steinway & Sons, is such a man. Classical pianists  Land Lang, Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Alfred Brendel are unable to perform without him. Informative, insightful and funny, the film etches a beautiful portrait of a piano tuner who is a master of his profession.
We see how pianos are moved not only by machines but also by hard physical labour.
When a pianist shows displeasure with tone, Knupfer works overtime ( and requests the same from others) to place two pianos side by side. Or works through the night to fix a pedal or note or sound enhancer.
Stefan Knüpfer is no mere piano tuner, he is also a pianist with  the ability to turn sounds into verbal images. It is remarkable to see how Knupfer's passion to not merely tune a piano, but to find the right sound nuances for each  pianist takes him from Vienna, Austria to Hamburg, head quarters of Steinway and elsewhere ( like the exquisite Schonberg Palace)
Equally noteworthy are the two sound engineers who make recordings.At the hard-to-please Pierre-Laurent Aimard's performance, we see that the sound engineers are themselves piano players with a gift for singing and the ability to detect an offkey note!
Pianomania deserves a repeat screening.
How to make a book with Steidl was screened 30th August 2011, 6.30pm
The film is about publisher Gerhard Steidl at work and on journeys to artists and writers; making books as an art and a passion.An observant but discreet camera reveals this unique publisher’s fascinating philosophy of work over the course of the film. The camera follows Steidl in his constant journeys to different continents, where he meets his "artists" (clients would be an inadequate term,says the MMB's synopsis) in their atmosphere and through discussions. The film shows the publisher in his environment, as a man who aligns his life with that of his artists, full of passion and creativity which corresponds to his own idea of the art of publishing.
The two directors show viewers in his journeys a different way of making books, books we can even smell at the end.
Other   films screened included"Uku Ukai","Heartquake",Vodka Factory,The mob & A piece of summer, and Flight over Lithuania or 510 seconds of silence & The first period, 10 Minutes before the flight of Icarus & Nero’s guests.

 Icarus is Arunas Matelis' 1991 ten minute offering from Lithuania 
The film  is an atmospheric depiction  of the decay of  Uzupis, a part of Vilnius's old town and the anticipation of something about to happen. Maybe, a new flight of Icarus. The original version of the film is in Lithuanian, Russian and Yiddish. The film was first  screened  in New York's Film Anthology Archives section. 
Nero’s guests ( 60min,  2009 )is by Indian film maker Deepa Bhatia who reminds us that nearly 200,000 farmers have committed suicide in India over the last 10 years. Nero’s Guests is a story about India’s agrarian crisis and the growing inequality seen through the work of P. Sainath – the Rural Affairs Editor of the Chennai headquartered newspaper The Hindu. Through sustained coverage of the farm crisis, Sainath and his colleagues created a national agenda, compelling the Indian government to take notice and act. From farms to fashion shows, from college campuses to the countryside, Nero’s Guests is a film which looks at India’s growing inequality and our own complicity in its creation.

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About Ronita Torcato

Torcato Agnela Ronita
An incomplete round-up of movie news, features & views from an independent journo & (dare I say it:-) film critic in Mumbai



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