Printed in FILMINT. By Elias Savada
It’s fitting that this refreshing documentary starts out with the world renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman performing a rousing rendition of The Star Spangled Banner at Citi Field in Queens, New York. He may have been born in Tel Aviv 70-plus years ago, but he’s a die-hard Mets fan and tried-and-true New Yorker. And he plays a mean fiddle.
Whether informally practicing with equally gifted musicians Evgeny Kissin and Mischa Maisky – breaking for light chatter about Yascha Heifitz over take-out Chinese food – the film’s tone is as light as the violinist’s fingers are with his instrument. Perlman is a consummate jokester and schmoozer, even if life has caused his health to suffer after contracting polio during his early childhood. His legs may not hold up, but his spirit flies and his sense of humor soars as captured in this lovely film by Alison Chernick, a producer-director who has crafted a divinely inspiring third feature. After a decade making occasional long form films, including 2006’s Matthew Barney: No Restraint, Chernick was known for her featurettes examining the work of a wide array of contemporary personalities (James Franco, Julian Schnabel, Pedro Almodóvar, Francis Ford Coppola, etc.) and the films or works in which they were involved.