International Film Festival Rotterdam

Itay Tal – God of the Piano #IFFR2019

Play Podcast
15 min. and 37 sec.

The uncertain nature of a piano prodigy.

Play Podcast
15 min. and 37 sec.

PODCAST| Matt Micucci interviews Itay Tal, director of the film God of the Piano.

To listen to the interview, click on the ► icon on the right, just above the picture

An interview with director Itay Tal, whose film God of the Piano has its world premiere in the Voices strand of the 2019 International Film Festival Rotterdam. The film talks about a woman who programs her son to become the concert pianist she could, somehow, never become. In our chat, we discuss this theme but also the similarities Tal found between the world of classical music and the world of film. We also talk about the origins of creativity, whether it is generic or perhaps something else – something spiritual. Among the other topics discussed are his relationship with his actors, and we particularly focus on that with his lead actress Naama Preis, whose restrained performance counters, for example, the emotional Anna Magnani role in the similarly themes Luchino Visconti’s film, Bellissima.

God of the Piano: Concert pianist Anat’s waters break while she is playing. Devastatingly, her son proves deaf. The “Baby Mozart” CD her father gives her can go straight in the bin. However, Anat’s will to raise a piano genius who would befit her respected musical family only becomes stronger, and she takes drastic measures to make this happen. Composed as a moral parable with a touch of thriller, God of the Piano tells the story of a mother – played with great reserve by Naama Preis – whose obsessive behaviour and mile-high expectations threaten to crush her child, just as she was once crushed. While focusing on mother-son relations, the film also explores the uncertain nature of prodigy. Is talent inherited? Is there a secret tension or even an interplay between giftedness and averageness? And – most importantly – what price does a person, be it adult or child, pay for being labelled a genius?

  • Reporter
    Matt Micucci
  • Guest
    Itay Tal
  • Interviewee role
    Director
  • Film title
    God of the Piano
  • Festival section
    Voices
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