Movie review: “A Late Quartet” (2012)

quartet

“Casals emphasized the good stuff, the things he enjoyed. He encouraged. And for the rest, leave that to the morons, or whatever it is in Spanish, who judge by counting faults. ‘I can be grateful, and so must you be,’ he said, ‘for even one singular phrase, one transcendent moment.’”

Yaron Zilberman’s A Late Quartet contains as much useful insight into what it is to be a professional musician as any movie I can recall. It also fairly vibrates with the passion with which aficionados of classical music feel and play the music they so love and internalize, a passion which pulses and propels, but also on occasion spills over walls and poisons wells. The film may be flawed in its construction, but those flaws only really reveal themselves later, and, that said, it is still rarely ever less than fascinating. Continue reading “Movie review: “A Late Quartet” (2012)”

Philip Seymour Hoffman – An Appreciation

Philip Seymour Hoffman

Philip Seymour Hoffman died over a week ago, and, as an admirer, I’m really only now coming to terms with it. My initial disbelief quickly morphed into anger when I heard he’d fallen prey to a drug overdose at age 46, and I imagine, or hope, that I wasn’t the last remaining person to know of Hoffman’s struggles with drugs only in passing. As some news outlets lingered on salacious details and others posited him as a classic cautionary tale, I tried increasingly to shut out much of the noise, because the whole thing just struck me as unbelievably sad. I mourned for his family and friends, of course, but the loss I felt was concentrated more in the artistic realm, where he had so thrived as a shining ensemble star in some of the best independent and/or lower profile films of my life. Continue reading “Philip Seymour Hoffman – An Appreciation”