The Swiss film director Georges Gachot had to wait for 20 years before he could portray the pianist Martha Argerich, who is not eager about publicity. The result of the shooting in Zürich, Germany and Argentina is a film that wins us over for both itself and its protagonist through openness and honesty. The conversational sequences are complemented by live concert recordings and rehearsal excerpts.
Film by Georges Machot (France 2002/2009), with german subtitles
Martha Argerich, one of the greatest pianists of our time, is considered musically uncompromising, not easy in her personal life and definitely not eager about publicity. The Swiss film director Georges Gachot had to wait for 20 years before he could portray her. It was worth the wait. The result of the shooting in Zürich, Germany and Argentina is a film that wins us over through openness and honesty – for both itself and its protagonist.
Peter Hagmann, music critic of the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, found the film “very touching”: “The images from her early years are moving enough: Martha Argerich as a well-behaved little girl at home at the piano, as Friedrich Gulda’s (only) piano pupil, as prize-winner of the Chopin Competition in Warsaw, as a young soloist with conductors […] She seems to have learned to trust the filmmaker, who accompanied her discreetly; in any case, she speaks in a spirited and lively way. And yet she reveals little about herself. Nonetheless, she relates her inner connection with the composers whose music she’s playing, and also recounts her fear of sitting alone on the stage, and talks about cancelling.”
The conversational sequences are complemented by live concert recordings and rehearsal excerpts, where her “relating” takes place very openly. Thus we see and hear how the pianist, rehearsing Schumann’s Piano Concerto, comes to an agreement with the concertmaster of the Württembergisches Kammerorchester about a way to play – the conductor is not able to be responsive to her wishes or suggestions.