Martha Argerich, evening talks

Press reviews & Critics of the film

A film by Georges Gachot
DVD Release
Official Nominations of MIDEM Classical Awards 2009
"Martha Argerich, Conversa noturna" lançado no Brasil para Biscoito Fino
O Globo, 27 novembre 2008 por Eduardo Fradkin No camarin com Martha Argerich / pdf-->
Folha de Sao Paulo, 5.11.2008 "Filme expoe encantos de Martha Argerich"
Veja, 5.11.2008 "recomenda"
O Globo, 31.10.2008 "Martha, my dear"

Le Temps, 7.09.2008
Compliqué parce que toujours paradoxale, mais simple parce que totalement sincère et généreuse, telle apparaît la grande pianiste, dans ce film ou Georges Gachot a su la saisir au débotté. Elle ne finit pas toutes ses phrases, mais ce qu'elle à a dire touche au coeur, parce que la crinière de la tigresse cache tant de fragilité. Et l'humour n'est jamais absent, par exemple quand elle se rappelle ses premiers succès et ses première foucades. Les documents d'archives, les extraits de répétitions et de concerts, qui ne sont pas les plus connus, renforcent encore l'intérêt de ce DVD, à juste titre couvert de prix. P.M.

Le Monde de la Musique, Septembre 2008
Classica, Septembre 2008
Ces "conversations nocturnes "vont au coeur du sujet avec patience et pudeur. Un magnifique portrait servi par une image et un son remarquables. S.F

Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 15.08.2008
Peter Hagmann
Martha Argerichs Geheimnisse
Zwanzig Jahre lang hat Georges Gachot gefragt und gebeten, dann endlich gab Martha Argerich ihre Zustimmung. «Nachtgespräche» nennt der französisch-schweizerische Filmregisseur das 2002 fertiggestellte Porträt, in dem die argentinische Pianistin am Klavier und im Gespräch die Hauptrolle spielt. Bewegend genug die Bilder aus frühen Jahren: Martha Argerich als artiges Mädchen zu Hause am Klavier, als (einzige) Schülerin von Friedrich Gulda, als Preisträgerin des Warschauer Chopin-Wettbewerbs, als junge Solistin mit Dirigenten wie Erich Leinsdorf oder später Charles Dutoit. Eine Tigerin an den Tasten, aber im Grunde genommen ein sehr scheuer Mensch - so wirkt sie auch in den geschickt zwischen die Filmdokumente eingelegten Gesprächsteilen. Sie scheint Vertrauen gefasst zu haben zu dem Filmer, der sie diskret begleitete, jedenfalls spricht sie munter und lebendig - und doch gibt sie wenig preis von sich.
Immerhin, sie berichtet von der inneren Verbindung mit den Komponisten, deren Musik sie spielt, auch von der Angst, allein auf dem Podium zu sitzen, und dem Absagen. Sehr berührend, diese anderthalb Stunden, die jetzt auf DVD verfügbar sind.

Naxos Blog, July 17th. 2008
By Paula
Martha Argerich, Forever
Generally, I would never advocate posting press releases as blog entries. In this case, however, I will make an exception. The July 29 release of Martha Argerich: Evening Talks was reason for great personal celebration for me. Yes, I've loved her playing for decades. And I just spent the better part of an hour trying to dig up an old Playbill from her last solo recital at Carnegie Hall. Much to my horror, it, along with my Horowitz programs, has gone missing. I do, however, have a whole bunch of eminently forgettable Metropolitan Opera programs from the early 1980s through the early 2000s. Don't ask.
I've told the following story many times about Argerich's recital. I remember expecting a formal affair, where the pianist would strut onstage in a suitably beautiful gown, bow gracefully, and then treat us to her great artistry. I got the last bit, which of course is all that mattered in the end. If memory serves, Argerich almost waddled onto the stage in a black leotard, long black stretchy skirt, and those hideous Mao shoes that were once "fashionable" (God knows why). She didn't quite bow, but I do remember her head seemed to slope downward. But for anyone who has ever heard the great Ms. Argerich play, it made absolutely no difference. Of course she brought the house down … and seemed almost surprised by her feat. It was as if she thought that what she was doing was very simple: she was merely speaking for the composers, pure and simple. They, in fact, were the Gods and she was just the messenger.
Below is my love letter to the film and to Ms. Argerich:
"First of all, there was this interview-which is not an interview at all, as I do not believe I asked her a single question. Let us, rather, call it a conversation that took place at dead of night, without a spotlight or makeup- a single 'night-time conversation' recorded as if by miracle on the magnetic tape of a comer that would then become the very heart of this film." -Georges Gachot
It took the French film director Georges Gachot 20 years to convince the very private and elusive Martha Argerich to agree to appear on camera for this intimate portrait. The resulting film, Martha Argerich: Evening Talks (Medici Arts 3073428), pays tribute to this great pianist's 40-year career with a blend of informal conversations and superb performance footage. It also contains rare archival material from across the globe, including footage from her 1957 First Prize win at the Geneva Competition when she was just 16.
The film allows Argerich to express her feelings about music, composers, and musicians and to discuss her background and early career and how they shaped her as an artist. Argerich reminisces about her early studies with Austrian pianist Frederich Gulda, whom she credits with "[teaching] her how to listen." She also recounts her yearlong stint with Michelangeli, during which time she received only four lessons. Moreover, she recalls the crisis she experienced in her early 20s, which spurred fellow Argentinean pianist (and conductor) Daniel Barenboim to once say, "Martha, you are like a very beautiful painting without the frame." It becomes clear that her abandonment of solo performance so early in her career grew partly out of the intense loneliness she felt during this period.
However, through her commitment to concerto and chamber music repertoire, Martha Argerich developed into a deeply generous artist, never satisfied with herself and always looking for new meanings and approaches to her repertoire. "I find something new all the time," she explains. "I hope I always will; I always doubt and I'm always groping." She finds her deepest satisfaction in communicating with other musicians and communing with composers, whose music is inarguably part of her DNA. Gulda once told her "It's not your fault that Schumann was not Argentinean." As she plays Schumann's Piano Concerto in A minor (effortlessly, it would seem), the listener notes that the music appears to be a natural extension of her being. "I hope I'm not bad for him," Argerich remarks. "Schumann is very intimate for me, but I hope he likes me." It is not surprising to hear this unique artist make such a humble comment about her work. Argerich appears utterly possessed by the composer's essence each time she performs his music.
In a 2001 article about Martha Argerich for The New Yorker, critic Alex Ross wrote "Argerich brings to bear qualities that are seldom contained in one person: she is a pianist of brainteasing technical agility; she is a charismatic woman with an enigmatic reputation; she is an unaffected interpreter whose native language is music. This last may be the quality that sets her apart. A lot of pianists play huge double octaves; a lot of pianists photograph well. But few have the unerring naturalness of phrasing that allows them to embody the music rather than interpret it." One listen to the Scarlatti encore from her performance in Zurich and the viewer will know exactly what Ross means.

The Toronto Star, Aug 05, 2008
By John Terauds
DVD Review
"He's been very good to me; he's never played any tricks on me."
Pianist Martha Argerich is talking about composer Sergei Prokofiev. For her, the personal is musical and the musical is personal. That is the core message in this hour-long 2002 documentary by Georges Cachot.
Buenos Aires native Argerich, now 67, rose to the top rank of pianists after winning two big competitions in 1957. But her long, still intensely active career has been marked in seeming equal proportion with public triumphs and private doubts. In the documentary, she describes how pianist-conductor Daniel Barenboim described her as a "beautiful painting without a frame." Gachot does the best he can to put this intensely shy artist with a huge personality into focus, using a stream of rehearsal and concert footage as the narrative flesh.
The English title of the documentary is misleading, as the rambling interview that is this film's spine was done in one take, late one night in 2001 during a post-post-performance gathering of Argerich intimates. This headstrong, self-assured artist is still the innocent, bewildered 16-year-old who stunned Europe more than half a century ago. In the absence of personal detail, her music speaks louder than any words.
There are 30 minutes of concert extras. What a treat.

New York Times, 3 August, 2008
A Film on the Reclusive Pianist Martha Argerich, Now on DVD ...
Once-Shy Pianist Tells, Um, Not Quite All
WHEN the reclusive Argentine pianist Martha Argerich performs, her long, thick hair cascades over her shoulders, often entirely obscuring her face from the audience and affording a glimmer of privacy even onstage.
A scene from the documentary "Martha Argerich: Evening Talks," which offers close-up interviews with this Argentine pianist and archival footage.
Ms. Argerich, who for almost two decades gave very few solo recitals, has always felt uneasy in the spotlight offstage as well. "I just saw a program called 'Big Brother,' " she says at the beginning of "Martha Argerich: Evening Talks," a 2002 film by Georges Gachot newly released on DVD by the Medici Arts label. "All those exhibitionists who like their private lives filmed. Not me."
But Ms. Argerich, a brilliant musician whose playing combines prodigious technique with uncanny musicality, overcame her shyness and granted Mr. Gachot a three-hour interview. It was shot one evening in 2001 between a rehearsal and a performance of Schumann's Piano Concerto with the Württemberg Chamber Orchestra in Heilbronn, Germany.
According to the DVD booklet Mr. Gachot had been trying to obtain such an interview for more than 20 years. "Evening Talks," in which Ms. Argerich, 67, chats candidly in French and English, is billed as the first film about her. Intimate, close-up interview shots are interspersed with archival footage, from her teenage victory at the Geneva International Music Competition in 1957 to solo, chamber and concerto appearances as recent as 2001.
Ms. Argerich recalls her first musical epiphany. She was 6, at a concert with her mother, listening to Claudio Arrau play Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4. The trills in the second movement gave her goose bumps. "I was dozing off, and suddenly," she says with a sharp intake of breath, experienced "an electric shock." Ms. Argerich refuses to play the concerto, she says, because "I'm afraid what would happen, it's so important to me."
At 9, before performing a Mozart concerto, she knelt down and thought, "If I hit one wrong note, I'll die." That sense of perfection stayed with her.
"I always doubt," she says. "I'm always groping. If you're too pleased with what you've done, or you get into a routine, that's the worst. Sometimes I go out on a limb, so it doesn't happen."
Ms. Argerich candidly recalls the crisis of loneliness she experienced in her midteens after winning both the Geneva competition and the Ferruccio Busoni International Piano Competition in Bolzano, Italy. "I was terribly shy," she says. "It was dismal. I was in quite a state. Then when I was 19 or 20, I went through a crisis." She spent a few years in New York watching late-night television.
Ms. Argerich, whose last-minute cancellations have disappointed fans, describes her first cancellation, at 17 in Florence. She was not unwell, she says, but thought she "didn't want to play." So she sent a telegram to the concert organizers saying she had hurt her finger. She then took a knife and cut her finger, so "it would be true." The wound was so bad it also prevented her from playing a concert the next week.
Like other legendary performers, including the cellist Pablo Casals and the pianist Vladimir Horowitz, Ms. Argerich has suffered from stage fright. "Sometimes I was in terrible panics," she says ruefully. "I'd imagine the worst things, imagine a full hall. It's terrible." Her knees would tremble so forcibly, she says, that her feet would inadvertently bang on the floor, and she suffered chills and runny noses.
When she was young, Ms. Argerich's nearsightedness was also problematic. She didn't have contact lenses at the time and didn't want to wear glasses onstage. So the piano looked "like crocodile's teeth," she says, and the bright lights made her feel "like an insect." The film doesn't touch on other aspects of her personal life, like her marriages to the conductor Charles Dutoit and the pianist Stephen Kovacevich, her three daughters or her recurring bouts with cancer, which began in the 1990s.
The film offers footage of Ms. Argerich, who often laughs during the interview, performing the composers she discusses. During a rehearsal of Schumann's Piano Concerto she vociferously argues in German with Jörg Faerber, the conductor, dismissing his suggestions.
"I prefer not to fool with Schumann," she says. "But I think he likes me." She describes performing Liszt and Chopin in the same recital: "The Liszt Sonata would be fine but not the Chopin Preludes. So I'd say, 'He's a little jealous.' " As for Prokofiev, she says with a laugh: "He's very fond of me. He's never played any dirty tricks on me." A night owl, Ms. Argerich claims that she learned Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 3 by osmosis, while sleeping during the day in the same room where her roommate practiced.
Daniel Barenboim once told Ms. Argerich she was "like a beautiful painting without a frame." This film offers fans an insightful, unguarded portrait.

Estadao de Sao Paulo, 17 Junho, 2008
Luiz Carlos Merten
A música, abrindo a mostra suíça
Martha Argerich, Conversa Norturna inaugura, no Centro Cultural São Paulo, a programação Pastores, Amantes e Sonhos
Luiz Carlos Merten O Estadao de S.Paulo
No ano passado, Georges Gachot esteve no Peru acompanhando a exibição de Martha Argerich, Conversa Noturna no evento Pastores, Amantes e Sonhos. A mostra, apoiada por representações diplomáticas da Suíça na América Latina, visa a divulgar um aspecto menos conhecido da cultura do país. A Suíça é renomada pelos chocolates, queijos e relógios que produz, mas seu cinema - caracterizado pela multiplicidade étnica e cultural - circula pouco, mesmo em grandes eventos internacionais de audiovisual. Gachot esteve em Lima e Puno. Como ele conta, ''a música clássica não é o forte das platéias peruanas, mas o público reagiu, apaixonado. Foi emocionante.''
Foram necessários dez anos para que Gachot conseguisse filmar Martha Argerich (leia ao lado). Logo
depois ele descobriu o Brasil, fez um documentário sobre Maria Bethânia (Música É Perfume) e trabalha agora em outro sobre Nana Caymmi (ainda sem título). Como diz o próprio Gachot, seus documentários sobre música, ou músicos, possuem um recorte particular. Logo na abertura de Conversa Noturna, Martha Argerich diz que viu na TV um programa, Big Brother, no qual as pessoas se expõem. Não é o caso dela, e Martha até pede a Gachot que desligue sua câmera. A tela fica escura,por alguns segundos.
Adentrar, com consentimento, na vida de alguém que preserva sua privacidade é algo complicado, mas Gachot conseguiu, como você poderá confirmar assistindo a seu filme que abre hoje a mostra Pastores, Amantes e Sonhos. Até dia 22, no Centro Cultural São Paulo, serão exibidos 13 longas e 12 curtas que mapeiam a produção suíça dos anos 2000/2005. O encontro de Gachot com a lenda do piano argentino tem um interesse especial no País porque Martha, afinal, é parceira de outro ícone, Nelson Freire, em concertos memoráveis. Só que a mostra reserva muito mais para o prazer dos olhos e ouvidos dos espectadores. A força do novo cinema suíço, surgido nos anos 60, está nos documentários e filmes de autor. A mostra fala de sentimentos, de raízes e sonhos. Veladamente, coloca a política em discussão. O Gênio Helvético, de Jean Stéphane Bron, expõe como funciona o Parlamento suíço; Em Direção ao Terceiro Milênio, de Eric Langjahr, documenta pastores divididos entre a tradição e a modernidade; Todo Um Inverno Sem Fogo, de Greg Zglinski, trata do drama de um casal cuja filha morreu num incêndio; Rumo ao Sul, de Vincent Pluss, é sobre religioso divorciado que tenta reatar com a ex-mulher; Utopia Blues, de Stepan Haupt, conta a história de músico jovem confrontado com as amargas lições que a vida proporciona; Vento do Norte, de Bettina Oberli, mostra homem que oculta da família sua demissão da empresa em que trabalhou por 20 anos. Na sexta-feira começa outra mostra, de inéditos do cinema francês. Os cinéfilos precisarão desdobrar-se.
---> pdf
Gachot revela musicalidade dos artistas que ama
Georges Gachot encontrou-se com Martha Argerich em Munique, em 1992. Seduzido pela grande pianista argentina, tentou convencê-la a participar de um filme sobre Liszt, cuja sonata em si menor é uma das peças que ela gosta de tocar. Martha vive cercada de um grupo que não facilita o acesso de ninguém. A grande pianista detesta câmeras, não dá entrevistas, não gosta de se expor.
Com muita dedicação e tato, Gachot venceu sua resistência e fez Martha Argerich, Conversation Nocturne, entre 2000 e 2002.
Há um momento decisivo. Martha recupera o tempo perdido. Quando tinha 6 anos, a mãe levou-a para ouvir o grande Arrau no 4o Concerto de Beethoven. A menina Martha ficou tão marcada que guardou aquele momento mágico para toda a vida. Inclusive, ela nunca tocou aquele concerto. ''Contei-lhe que eu também conheci minha mulher durante uma audição do 2o Concerto de Beethoven. Isso criou uma cumplicidade entre nós'', diz o diretor. Cumplicidade é bem a palavra. Gachot dedica-se ao que é difícil, mas que ele prova não ser impossível. Busca decifrar a musicalidade de artistas que o seduzem. Usa o cinema como um espelho para revelar a sensibilidade à flor da pele desses bichos raros que são os grandes artistas.
São filmes difíceis de editar. Ele demora meses, até anos. Evita filmar o público porque acha desinteressante e, pior, fácil de manipular. ''Teria de mostrar exatamente o momento em que o artista provocou a reação do espectador, estabelecer um elo entre ambos, caso contrário é falso.'' O filme sobre Martha é sobre a música e ela, sobre a música nela. Nada de revelações, de tititis nem de depoimentos sobre a artista. Martha basta-se por si só. Quando quis fazer o filme sobre Maria Bethânia, ele lhe enviou o filme sobre Martha. Ela gostou. Bethânia, de quem ele documentou o espetáculo Brasileirinho - para Música É Perfume -, abriu-lhe as portas para Nana Caymmi. ''Mas quem é essa mulher?'', perguntou-se Gachot, quando Nana cantou João Valentão, no show. Ele trabalha num projeto sobre Nana Caymmi, atualmente parado (desde janeiro) porque Nana não tem cabeça para música, por causa do doença do pai, o grande Dorival. Gachot também trabalha na edição da trilha, à qual acrescenta ruídos, de Música É Perfume. O CD será distribuído no Brasil pela Biscoito Fino, que também lançará, em DVD, Martha Argerich, Conversa Noturna.

LIBERATION, Paris, 29 mai 2004
La magie Martha Argerich
ARTE, samedi 29 mai 2004. «Musica : Martha Argerich», documentaire de Georges Gachot.
L'art de la conversation. Comment dire beaucoup sans préméditation et en peu de mots, voilà à quoi se prête la légendaire pianiste Martha Argerich à l'occasion de sa première apparition à l'écran.
Interrogée à questions feutrées par un interlocuteur invisible, elle dissipe une timidité qu'elle prétend de toujours (est-ce la raison de ce rideau de cheveux qui ne l'a jamais quittée ?) pour s'évoquer avec un émerveillement rétrospectif : l'enfance argentine, l'initiation auprès de Gould, les compositeurs qui «l'aiment bien», croit-elle (sourire de gamine), Schumann surtout, la peur panique du public («les touches comme les dents d'un crocodile, on se sent comme un insecte»), l'expérience comme vérité et mensonge... Son phrasé qui se suspend à la fin des phrases, marque un silence puis lâche un mot conclusif, où se concentre l'émotion, fait penser à Duras. Maniérisme qui ne résiste pas longtemps à une fraîcheur confondante. Ce portrait la révèle dans ce qui fait l'essentiel d'une grande artiste : l'acquisition de la maîtrise doit s'accompagner de son inverse, («le pire, s'imiter soi-même»). Répétitions, archives, concerts, les mains de Martha Argerich sont extraordinaires (avant la télé, voyait-on les mains des pianistes ?), de vélocité, d'humour, de générosité, deux faunes étourdissants qui suspendent le temps ; avec leur reflet sur le piano, ça en fait quatre qui dansent et créent l'image animée parfaite, dont on pourrait ne jamais se lasser.
Isabelle POTEL © samedi 29 mai 2004
LA NACION, Buenos Aires, 18 September, 2003
Encounter With Martha Argerich
Review: Very Good
"Martha Argerich, Evening Conversations" (Martha Argerich, conversation nocturne‚ Franco-Swiss & German Production / 2002, in color). Director: Georges Gachot. With Martha Argerich. Photography: Matthias Kàlin and Milivoj Ivkovic. Edition : Ruth Schläpfer. Presented by Cine Ojo. Duration: 72 minutes. Rating: U
For those who love music and admire Martha Argerich, this documentary will prove to be a passionate experience. A close-up meeting with this exceptional artist and an approximation to her thoughts and her personal feelings, an opportunity to take a peek at her during rehearsals and to be present during fragments of her performances - the latest ones or those which gave her the early triumphs - and above all, of being a witness to a pleasant, spontaneous conversation, without ceremonies nor formalities, in which Martha blots out her legendary image of a mysterious, evasive and inaccessible character, with simple pure charm and open friendliness.
The great merit of Georges Gachot, the Swiss film maker who specializes in the making of films on classical music, lies in having overcome all resistance from this renowned artist and to have generated a trustworthy environment for her to accept, for the very first time, to face a camera in a conversation, as well as having focused all excluding attention on his main character.
The film's importance lies in listening to and seeing Martha Argerich, not in the film's formal resources; the camera is the bridge between her and the audience, the camera is the discreet witness which becomes imperceptible and is therefore doubly admirable, the camera which knows how to discover her expressive face or her hand gestures, in the inflexions of her voice or in an almost insinuated smile, in her thoughtful gaze or in her open laughter, all that which completes her spoken words, so often left unfinished ...
It is true that the documentary took almost two years of hard work, but it is almost heroic to have managed to extract from one three-hour conversation (held two years ago in between a rehearsal and a concert in Heilbronn) so substantial an amount of material for it to become the central axis of the film.
"It was truly a magic moment", remembered the director, with no fears of the space in common and no exaggerations, as can be judged from the results. Nor is it less praiseworthy to note the way in which Gachot threaded each portion of the interview with the musical film fragments or with the shots of Argentina (our country), integrating them into the finished product with extraordinary fluidity and with never decaying interest, including for those amongst the audience who are not so familiar with this great artist.
The Strength of Charisma
With her generosity, her sensitivity, her intelligence, her down to earth manner and her sense of humor, Argerich becomes an almost hypnotic character for those watching. Even though there are questions, it is she who leads the conversation, which revolves around music, but from which can be inferred a concept of art and life. It travels through childhood memories - the decisive impact she suffered at age 6 on hearing Beethoven's Fourth Piano Concerto played by Claudio Arrau at the Teatro Colˆ„n; the defining early years of childhood; her most influential teacher, Friedrich Gulda; - towards confiding thoughts: her fears and insecurities, the hard experience of solitude, the remembrance of her first transgression, when she cancelled a concert in Italy with the excuse that she had hurt her finger. She talks about work - "one has to prepare oneself 150% to be able to give 60%; of the constant need to find new ways to approach the same works; of her "personal‚Äù ties with composers; of the works with which she feels at home; of the subliminal way in which she learnt Prokofiev's Third Concerto; she talks about humor in music, about Ravel, about Schumann... Her attitude is reserved, her sincerity is overwhelming.
Martha's enthusiasm is generously catching and she seduces with fresh warmth and friendliness, unaffected, not only during the conversation - registered with only one digital video camera and almost invariably in close-ups - but also in some of the rehearsals, of which the audience is a privileged witness.
There are abundant fragments of her performances - a variety ranging from her teenage years and which includes works by Dvorak, Beethoven, Lutoslawsky, Piazzolla, Saint Saëns, Chopin, Bach, Ravel or Prokofiev, to a prolonged section dedicated to Schumann: needless to say that there are more than enough moments of moving beauty. The film only merits a minor objection and a very unusual one at that: the 72 minutes of screening go by far too quickly.
By Fernando Lopez © LA NACION 2003
LA NACION - Buenos Aires - Sunday, 20 April, 2003
Martha Argerich, intimate (in private)
Frenchman Georges Gachot and the accomplishment of the impossible interview
"I have been working for 20 years to get a 'yes' ", the French film maker, Georges Gachot, tells us smiling and with a certain air of distraction, feeling as happy as he was comforted by the Argentine audience's response to the presentation of his documentary: "Martha Argerich, evening conversation" during the Buenos Aires Independent Film Festival, where tonight, at 11:00 pm, this film can be seen for the last time at Hoyts Cinema 8, located in the Abasto Shopping Mall. 
The night before last, very few spectators left their seats as soon as the  screening to a full house, came to an end. The remainder accepted Gachot's proposal - he works and lives in Zürich, Switzerland - for an open dialogue on the film, whose argentine connotations, according to what the director discovered, went far beyond the fact that the leading role was played by someone of the same origin.  
What everyone wanted to know - and LA NACION also, who soon afterwards spoke to Gachot privately - was how such an elusive star, evasive and unpredictable, had finally accepted to do what until then had never done: speak straight forwardly and willingly to a camera about her life and her extraordinary musical prowess. "It was a miracle", says Gachot simply and with the enthusiasm of talking about something which under any light is out of the ordinary. "Now that I am here - he adds - I can also say that it is not only a film about Martha Argerich. I realized during these past days that the film is also about Argentina, because both seem to be almost the same thing".
A good portion of the 62 minutes of film - shot on digital video - takes place in the association of images of our country with the memories and the career of this great pianist.  There are shots of the streets of Buenos Aires (porteño=belonging to Buenos Aires), the Teatro Colón, the vibrant take of a herd of horses in the Pampas and of the beaches of Mar del Plata, all of them a symbol of Argerich's temperament and professional career. There was also a suprising display of rare archival material gathered from different parts fo the world, ranging from the time when a very young Argerich receives the First Prize of the Piano Competition in Geneva, which opened up her career, until her last concert to date at the Colón, together with Nelson Freire.
In the midst of the above lies the most important: fragments from a three hour long conversation between Gachot and Argerich, filmed two years ago in between a rehersal and a concert of works by Schumann at Heilbronn. "How did I get to her? It took me almost ten years to get close, after having discovered, as a student, that the works that Martha played regularly (Bach's Partita No. 2, Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 3, Ravel's G Major Concerto) were the ones that had had the greatest impact on my life. Until I finally came into contact with her, always surrounded by people because she feels that she can thus better protect herself from the outside world. After a while, in a small gathering I managed to get close and I suggested we speak about Schumann and Beethoven. With Martha one can plan nothing, because she decides everything, always going forward, but to my surprise she accepted the dialogue, which as you witnessed takes place in sequential planes and without abrupt cuts. She opens and closes each subject with complete spontaneity," Gachot explains. He admits that if he had to define his work in one word, he would choose honesty. "She speaks about how she had to fight against herself and on her obsession for not making mistakes. During the conversation I had no notes nor script guide. We simply chatted and in so doing, tried to trap the intimacy of someone who had never before made such confessions. I think I succeeded: each time I see the film again, I find that she is really concentrating on what she is saying and does not look the other way. Besides, I was so sure of what I was going to do that, instead of taking small cameras, supposedly not to make her feel uncomfortable as it had been suggested, I chose to take one large camera only. I had not made a mistake and Martha appears almost all the time in close up, without ever feeling uncomfortable", he adds.
Film maker and himself a pianist, Gachot chose to pursue his career by exclusively making documentaries on classical music: "My work, and also my quest, is to combine music with words. In this case, editing the film was very difficult (that in itself took almost seven months) because we had to combine Martha's words with the music from the archival material. It is very difficult to know which subject preceds the next and to place them in such an order that will appear harmonic. The most important difference is that in a concert, the performer can play an encore and in movies that is impossible".
After his conversation with Argerich, Gachot decided to complete his work by travelling to Argentina, where he shot for three weeks. Back in Europe, he showed the pianist the finished documentary. "She had no participation in the final editing and assembly and only said: "If I were a Martha Argerich fan, I would love to see this movie"."
Marcelo Stiletano © LA NACION 2003
LA NACION | 20/04/2003 | Página 04 | Espectáculos
Free translation by Maria Elena Hartung
LE MONDE, Novembre 2002
Le Clavier bien inspiré
Rencontre inédite avec une pianiste de génie. Libre, subtil, enchanteur.
L'EXPRESSION semble désuète mais s'impose ici plus que jamais: soyez tout ouïe. Pour le pure enchantement des morceau musicaux, la rareté de la parole, la richesse et la profondeur implicite de la confidence. Combien de points de suspension dans la conversation nocturne avec cette musicienne de génie qu'est Martha Argerich ? Combien de phrase inachevées, de mots abandonnés en suspens pour l'imaginaire de l'auditeur ? Il y a bien sûr cet accent argentin, naturellement dansant et effusif, que la rigueur du français contrarie et que le pragmatisme de l'anglais réprime. Mais surtout, ce rendez-vous médité par Georges Gachot a quelques chose de sauvage, de dérobé, d'évanescent.
A la mesure de l'événement qu'il constitue : c'est la première fois, en quelque quarante-cinq ans de métier (elle a à peine 16 ans, en 1957, lorsqu'elle est propulsée sur la scène internationale), que l'artiste qualifiée de mythique et de légendaire se confie devant une caméra. A celle, aussi, de l'incertitude du moment (le soir, la nuit profonde, l'aube ?) et du lieu (Buenos Aires, Pescara, ailleurs ?) choisis. Enfin, à l'aune de son sujet, interprète d'exception auréolée de mystère. Généreuse, fascinante. D'une intégrité radicale et radicalement insoumise aux code du star-system, à la notion de carrière.
On sait seulement que derrière Martha il y a là deux ou trois amis musiciens ; la plupart du temps hors champ, mais avec des plans d'une beauté ineffable lorsque le visage du pianiste Mauricio Vallina s'accroche dans l'image au coté d'Argerich (comme les tableaux de deux pensées en chemin). Rien de convenu, d'attendu. L'interlocuteur relance à peine, et dans un quasi-chuchotement. La conversation s'anime sur le "choc électrique" de ses six ans (elle joue depuis qu'elle en a trois)-le Concerto No 4 de Beethoven par Claudio Arrau. Hommage éloquent à son maître, le pianiste et compositeur autrichien Friedrich Gulda. L'amour, le besoin vital de jouer avec les autres. Le travail -" il faut se préparer à 150% si on veut obtenir 60%". L'enfance, comme paysage définitif. La vulnérabilité, le gouffre abyssal de la panique... et cet incroyable récit d'une transgression - l'annulation d'un concert en Italie, à 17 ans.
Lovée au propos en manière de contrepoint, la part solaire, littéralement resplendissante et jubilatoire, d'archives musicales recueillies depuis 1957 sur toutes les scènes de la planète. Liszt Ravel, Prokofiev, Beethoven, Chopin, Schumann, Bach...dans une intimité inédite. Ferveur et ravissement.
Valérie Cadet, LE MONDE © 2002
Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 4. 10. 2002
Georges Gachots Nachtgespräch mit Martha Argerich
Es ist Nacht; das Bild zeigt einen kleinen Ausschnitt aus der neutralen Anonymität einer Hotellobby. Keine besondere Beleuchtung, keine Scheinwerfer. Nur eine Kamera. Martha Argerich, die Ausnahmepianistin, erzählt. Und das ist eine Sensation, denn noch nie hat sie vor laufender Kamera ein Interview gegeben. Sie ist gerne auf der Bühne. Wenn sie sich entschliesst, einen Auftritt zu geben, schenkt sie dem Publikum ihr Talent in grosszügiger Weise. Sie lebt intensiv, ja turbulent, liebt spontane Entscheide und Reaktionen. Doch die Öffentlichkeit scheut sie. Dennoch hat sie aus einer Eingebung heraus dem Filmemacher Georges Gachot ihr Vertrauen geschenkt.
Eine einmalige Chance, ein Glücksfall also, dass man so das erste - und vielleicht letzte - Interview mit Argerich sehen kann. Gachots conversation nocturne mit ihr ist das Rückgrat des Films. Die von den äusseren Umständen diktierten reduzierten filmischen Mittel erhalten darin eine eigene Qualität. Argerichs Persönlichkeit kommt zu intimer Wirkung; ihre Ausstrahlung ist einmalig. Behutsam geführt von Gachots Fragen, erzählt sie von den Menschen, die sie geprägt haben, Friedrich Gulda beispielsweise. Von der Musik, von den Werken, die für sie wie Persönlichkeiten mit eigenem Leben sind, von den Komponisten, die ihr am Herzen liegen. Sie tut das mit einer Offenheit und Ehrlichkeit, dass man sie als Person spürt und sich sofort von dieser nächtlichen Begegnung mitnehmen und berühren lässt.
Es braucht Mut, ein so persönliches, nur mit einer Kamera (Matthias Kälin) geführtes Interview stehen zu lassen als das, was es ist, und es nicht künstlich aufzublasen. Und es braucht Mut, es zu redigieren, darin die wesentlichen, für den Charakter der Künstlerin entscheidenden Momente zu finden und Verdoppelungen wegzulassen. Der in Zürich lebende Gachot hat den Mut in «Martha Argerich - Conversation nocturne» gehabt. Sein Film hat eine stimmige Dramaturgie, ist ausgezeichnet geschnitten und wohl dosiert mit Material ergänzt, das Argerichs künstlerische Dimensionen zeigt: Konzertmitschnitte aus dem Archiv, aus der Zürcher Tonhalle und aufschlussreiche Ausschnitte aus Proben.
Auch das ist ziemlich einmalig, dass sie während einer Probe spricht: Beim Schumann-Klavierkonzert tut sie's, verständigt sich auf subtile Weise mit dem Konzertmeister des Orchesters, um den etwas gar mittelmässigen Dirigenten zu umgehen . . . Man hat das Gefühl, dass Gachot in seinem Film den Kern von Martha Argerichs vitaler Persönlichkeit verstanden hat und ihn auch vermitteln kann. - Am vergangenen Wochenende wurde er mit dem begehrten Prix Italia in der Kategorie Musik und Kunst ausgezeichnet, zuvor erhielt er bereits den Preis der Studentenjury und den ersten Preis in der Kategorie Dokumentarfilm des grössten Musikfilmwettbewerbes, Golden Prague.
© Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Alfred Zimmerlin.4. 10. 2002
Tagesanzeiger, 27. 9. 2002
Eigenwilliges Charisma
«Big Brother» sei nichts für sie, sagt Martha Argerich und winkt ab: Einspielen will sie sich allein, ohne Kamera. Das erstaunt weniger als die Tatsache, dass die interviewscheue Pianistin überhaupt auf ein Filmprojekt eingestiegen ist.
Immerhin, den Gesprächsverlauf bestimmt sie in «Martha Argerich &endash; Conversation nocturne» weit gehend selber: Sie erzählt von Lampenfieber und musikalischen Schlüsselerlebnissen und schweigt manchmal plötzlich, sie versteckt sich hinter ihren Haaren und gibt dann wieder ihre sehr persönliche Sicht auf Werke und Komponisten preis. Sie habe den Eindruck, dass Prokofjew sie möge, meint sie einmal, und der Satz sagt mehr über ihren Zugang zur Musik als jede wortreiche Analyse. Martha Argerich hat Charisma, und der in Zürich lebende Dokumentarfilmer Georges Gachot hat gut daran getan, ihr die Leinwand praktisch allein zu überlassen. Nur selten hat er andere Bilder zwischen die Interviewpassagen geschoben, und auch auf diese hätte man gut verzichten können: Galoppierende Pferde und Stadtszenen tragen nichts bei zum Verständnis der Musikerin und ändern auch nichts an der konventionell-soliden Machart des Films. Ergiebig sind dagegen die eingestreuten historischen Aufnahmen, in denen die junge Martha Argerich Liszt oder Chopin spielt &endash; und in denen ihre Ausstrahlung bereits die gleiche ist wie heute. Denn am beredtsten ist die Pianistin immer noch hinter den Tasten, wenn sie ravelschen Humor aufblitzen lässt oder schumannscher Verletzlichkeit nachspürt. Oder auch, wenn sie einem Dirigenten, der nicht allzu viel zum Schumann-Konzert zu sagen weiss, diskret, charmant und unmissverständlich klar macht, wie sie sich die Interpretation vorstellt. (suk)
© Züritipp , Freitag, 27. September 2002
Lauter Liebesaffären
Neu im Kino: «Conversation nocturne» - ein Dokumentarfilm über die Pianistin Martha Argerich
Die Pianistin Martha Argerich gilt als eigensinnig, exzentrisch, medienscheu. Umso erstaunlicher ist, dass es dem Schweizer Filmemacher Georges Gachot gelungen ist, sich mit Kamera und Mikrofon der Künstlerin anzunähern.
Sie habe gerade am Fernsehen «Big Brother» gesehen, sagt Martha Argerich am Anfang von Georges Gachots «Conversation nocturne». Grässlich, wie alle erpicht seien, ihr Privatleben in der Öffentlichkeit auszubreiten. Darüber werde sie nichts erzählen.
Nächtlicher Monolog
Punktum. Und dann berichtet Martha Argerich von lauter Liebesaffären - mit Komponisten, die schon lange in einer andern Welt angelangt sind. Sie spricht von ihnen, als seien sie noch lebendig und anwesend - sogar von Eifersucht ist die Rede, wenn sie sich zwischendurch einem andern Komponisten zuwende. Beethoven, Chopin, Debussy, Ravel, Prokofjew, Bach sind ihre musikalischen Liebhaber - und ganz besonders Robert Schumann, mit dem sie sich schon mehr als seelenverwandt fühlt. «Nachtgespräch» (Conversation nocturne) nennt Georges Gachot seinen Film nicht zufällig. Der Hauptteil ist ein von nur wenigen Fragen unterbrochener Monolog Martha Argerichs in ihrem Brüsseler Heim - spätabends aufgenommen, ohne Vorbereitung und Absprache. Ein kaum geglieder- ter Erinnerungs- und Gedankenstrom, der gerade in seiner Sprunghaftigkeit Entscheidendes über diese Ausnahmekünstlerin aussagt. Gachot erzwingt nichts; er geht behutsam auf das Wesen dieser besonderen Frau ein. Eingelassen in die nächtliche Offenbarung sind Bilder mit viel Musik: Gegenwärtiges wie Vergangenes. Wie sie 1957 mit 16 Jahren die Klavierwettbewerbe in Bozen und Genf gewann und gerade wegen dieses frühen Erfolges in eine Krise schlitterte. Ihr argentinischer Kollege Daniel Barenboim meinte damals, sie erinnere ihn an ein Bild ohne Rahmen. Wie sie sich dann wieder auffing und nach dem Sieg beim Warschauer Chopin-Concours 1965 eine Weltkarriere antrat, die bis heute anhält. Anfang und Schluss spielen in Martha Argerichs Heimatstadt Buenos Aires. Hier kann Gachot der Versuchung nicht ganz widerstehen, «stimmungsvolle» Aufnahmen aus der argentinischen Hauptstadt - nächtliche Strassen, wilde Pferde, sturmgepeitschtes Meer - unter die Musik zu legen. Das ist zwar poetisch, aber konventionell. Ergiebiger ist der lange Blick ins Gesicht der Martha Argerich, in diese faszinierende menschliche Landschaft.
Martha Argerich bekennt sich bedingungslos zur Spontaneität: im Leben wie in der Kunst. Sie hasst Routine und Wiederholung; sich selber zu imitieren, sei das Allerschlimmste. Die Pianistin tritt seit ein paar Jahren nicht mehr solo auf. Das sei schrecklich - wenn sie nach links oder rechts schaue, sei niemand da. Also bevorzugt sie Auftritte mit Orchester, vor allem aber Kammermusik. Sie will mit andern zusammen sein, musizieren, lachen - es ist genau dieses verschmitzte, mitunter unbändige Lachen, das in unserer Erinnerung haften bleibt. Das Lachen eines Menschen, der ironisch über sein Tun und Lassen berichten kann und doch alles sehr ernst nimmt. Marthas Argerich ist und bleibt, letztlich, eine fanatische Person.
In St. Gallen im Kino Palace; am 27. September ist Regisseur Gachot zu Gast.
© Aus dem St. Galler TAGBLATT vom Donnerstag, 26. September 2002. (Mario Gerteis)
South African Intl. Documentary Film Festival
An intimate glimpse into the life of one of the greatest concert pianists alive, the Argentinian Martha Argerich. Talent and dedication don't require histrionics: Argerich comes across as deeply sensitive and intelligent, in awe of her craft and those who have gone before her, paying particular homage to her teacher, Friedrich Gulda as well as the composers "who like her". The film takes us to Warsaw, where she won the Chopin competition as a young girl, and around the world, including her native Buenos Aires. Interspersed with these are casual moments of conversation in which she proves to be both remarkably unassuming and inspired.
(Text from the catalogue, July 2002)
LE TEMPS, Samedi 27 avril 2002
Julian Sykes
Martha Argerich se livre pour la première fois, pudique mais généreuse, au coin d'une caméra
Martha Argerich a toujours beaucoup parlé, mais jamais devant une caméra. Elle fuit les interviews. Georges Gachot l'a traquée pendant deux ans avec un cameraman et un ingénieur du son. Ce fut long, presque impossible. Puis une nuit, elle a lâché le morceau. Le résultat est un film qui dure près d'une heure, à voir absolument ce samedi, au festival Visions du réel de Nyon. «Il faut beaucoup d'inconscience pour faire un film sur Martha. Pour moi, c'est vraiment un cadeau qu'elle m'a fait. J'aurais voulu appeler ce film Le Cadeau de Martha.» Georges Gachot, qui vit à Zurich, n'en croit toujours pas ses yeux: on lui a ri au nez lorsqu'il a sollicité des télévisions pour financer le projet.
Première approche en 1993, à Munich. «C'était après un concert. Un ami producteur m'a dit: «Vas-y, tu peux y aller.» Mais même lui avait peur: Martha regarde tout le monde, elle a des antennes partout. C'est une aura.» Le fan d'Argerich lui propose alors de jouer dans un film sur le Concerto en Sol de Ravel. «Martha» l'écoute, l'interroge. Les années passent. La pianiste tombe gravement malade. Va suivre une thérapie en Californie. En 2000, Georges Gachot tente une seconde approche au Festival de Verbier: «Elle se souvenait de moi.» Trois semaines plus tard, le voici qui débarque chez sa grande fille, à Genève, et qui tourne les premières images.
Le pari n'était pas gagné d'avance. «Il a fallu six mois pour que le projet aboutisse. Un soir, on s'est assis dans le hall d'un hôtel. Je me suis mis par terre, Martha était sur un sofa, le cameraman a tout juste eu le temps de poser l'objectif sur ses genoux.» D'où ces images un peu tamisées, cette ambiance de pénombre: «Martha vit la nuit. Elle se couche quand les autres se lèvent. Elle sait épargner ses sentiments et les sortir au bon moment.» C'est donc entre une heure et trois heures du matin qu'elle s'est livrée, d'où le titre du film, Conversation nocturne.
Argerich livre anecdote sur anecdote. Sur un ton elliptique. Avec toute une panoplie de gestes. L'attitude est pudique (elle se cache derrière sa chevelure), le regard, lui, oblique. Elle parle de son mentor Friedrich Gulda, de sa première impression musicale forte à 6 ans: «C'était le quatrième [Concerto] de Beethoven. Que je ne joue pas. (Sourire). Et euh... c'était quelque chose d'incroyable. C'était Arrau qui jouait. Ma mère m'amenait toujours au concert, c'était très tard [...] et j'avais sommeil. Mais quand j'ai écouté les trilles dans le deuxième mouvement... Aahhh! J'ai eu des espèces de frissons, comme ça!» D'emblée, le ton est donné. Le personnage est tellement hypnotique que peu importent les références musicales: c'est l'histoire d'une vie.
Et comme dans toute vie, il y a des crises. «J'ai eu les Concours de Genève et de Bolzano à 16 ans. Alors j'ai commencé à jouer. Et après je me sentais très isolée, je faisais la vie d'une personne de 40 ans [...] Je ne connaissais personne de mon âge, j'étais terriblement timide, et... c'était triste, tu vois!» Déroutée, Martha se réfugie à 19-20 ans chez le grand pédagogue Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli: «Je suis restée une année et demie chez lui, mais j'ai eu quatre leçons!» Eclats de rire. Le regard demeure intense, à la fois fuyant et à l'affût.
C'est toute la dimension imprévisible du personnage qui éclate dans ce film. Tout son génie, aussi, sans parler des splendides archives de concerts. Argerich raconte comment elle a appris le 3e Concerto de Prokofiev de manière «subliminale», en partageant une chambre avec une femme qui étudiait la même œuvre de jour, pendant son sommeil: «Quand j'ai dû le jouer, je l'avais appris avec des erreurs, des petites erreurs qu'elle faisait.» Et de lancer: «Il y a des méthodes aussi comme ça pour apprendre les langues, non?» Le passage le plus émouvant est lorsqu'elle évoque (en anglais ) le petit doigt qu'elle s'est coupé pour justifier l'annulation de son premier concert: «Et je l'ai vraiment fait!»
La légende est donc bel et bien vivante. Derrière ses doutes, derrière cette chevelure à la fois souple et torsadée, se trament des souvenirs. Mais surtout une générosité qui n'appartient qu'à elle: «J'en ai passé des nuits à suivre Martha dans les hôtels, explique Georges Gachot. Avec Martha, on peut parler de tout.»
Martha Argerich, Conversation nocturne. Sa 27 avril à 20 h, au Festival Visions du réel à Nyon. Rens. 022/361 60 60 ou
Dans l'intimité musicale de Martha.
Georges Gachot a réussi l'exploit de filmer l'insaisissable et secrète dame Argerich, la célèbre pianiste argentine. A découvrir à Visions du réel, à Nyon, le 27 avril.
Georges Gachot, qui habite à Zurich, n'en revient toujours pas! A force de persévérance, il a tourné ce documentaire sur Martha Argerich, nommé "Conversations nocturnes". "J'avais contacté la pianiste il y a huit ans, nous explique-t-il. C'était à Munich, après un concert et, comme tout le monde, j'étais très impressionné par sa personnalité. Comme toujours, elle était très entourée (réd.: elle a horreur de la solitude) et vivait la nuit. Il faut tenir le rythme! Nous en sommes restés là puisqu'après cette rencontre, elle est tombée gravement malade et s'est fait soigner en Californie. Puis, en 1999, je l'ai revue au festival de Verbier. On a reparlé de ce film que je voulais d'abord consacrer à Ravel uniquement. La confiance s'est instaurée entre nous."
Pour l'essentiel, ce documentaire a été tourné à Heilbronn, près de Stuttgart. "J'ai passé une partie de la nuit avec elle: un vrai moment de magie. Je n'ai pas fait son interview, mais nous avons parlé, parlé, parlé. De musique, bien sûr. Des musiques qui lui sont proches. Avec elle, j'ai marché sur des œufs, tout le temps, mais ce fut un moment très privilégié. J'ai eu beaucoup de chance. Je ne veux pas me vanter, mais quelque chose s'est passé entre nous. Et l'ambiance de cette conversation a été un cadeau."
C'est fou ce qu'elle rit, Martha Argerich. Comme en témoigne ce documentaire, tourné en français et en anglais. Et si sa légende en fait une femme volcanique, réputée irascible, voire invivable, elle se montre en réalité généreuse, fidèle à ceux qu'elle aime, tendre... Ceux qui voudraient en savoir davantage sur sa vie privée seront pourtant déçus. "Je lui ai posé des questions plus intimes, dit Gachot. Mais Martha a horreur de parler hors du contexte, en l'occurrence musical. J'ai l'impression qu'elle épargne ses sentiments pour le moment approprié." On l'aura deviné: quand elle se jette sur son piano, l'épaisse chevelure en bataille, ses mains puissantes caressant ou giflant l'ivoire et l'ébène. Des mains qui, à chaque fois, redonnent souffle à Schumann, duquel elle se sent très proche, au Bach de la "Deuxième partita", à Ravel, chez lequel elle se sent très à l'aise, au jeune Beethoven, qu'elle trouve plein d'humour.
"A 61ans, dit Gachot, elle garde ce trait de caractère fondamental chez elle: son imprévisibilité. Ainsi qu'une capacité incroyable à tirer son inspiration du moment. Elle dit qu'elle n'aime pas tellement jouer seule. Contrairement à ce que beaucoup croient, Martha ne vit pas dans un monde à part. C'est une femme normale..."
Des extraits d'archives éclairent ce film. Des souvenirs pieux, en somme, quand on voit Friedrich Gulda, son maître, qui, pourtant, ne pensait pas pouvoir lui apprendre grand-chose! C'est cependant grâce à lui que Martha a quitté son Argentine natale. Et gagné des concours aussi prestigieux que ceux de Genève, de Bolzano ou de Varsovie. Elle parle aussi de ce fameux "Concerto No4", de Beethoven, sa première découverte musicale alors qu'elle avait 6ans et... qu'elle ne joue pas. "J'ai trop peur", dit-elle dans le film!
Voilà donc pour l'essentiel de ce documentaire, qui nous fait entrer dans l'intimité musicale d'une artiste de tout premier plan...
"Conversations nocturnes", de Georges Gachot, Visions du réel, Nyon (Capitole 1) samedi 27 avril, 20h
© LE MATIN, lundi 22 avril 2002 / Aimé Corbaz
"Golden Prague" 2002
Report: Two awards to the film "Martha Argerich, evening talks"
Category 3: Documentary programmes with a musical or dance theme
Dr. Franz Wagner, Chairman of the Jury
Mr Georges Gachot, Director of the awarded programme, Switzerland
The Czech Crystal is awarded again to two programmes, 'Martha Argerich, Evening Talks', and 'Breaking the Silence: Music in Afghanistan'.
The first Crystal goes to number 5, a musical documentary on Argentina's legendary pianist by Idéale Audience of France.
'Martha Argerich' is a unique and intimate approach to a great artist and personality. The sensitive manner of the interviewer helps make possible the first television portrait of this remarkable artist.
Mr Peter Janecek, Chairman of the Student Jury, Vienna, Austria
Mr Georges Gachot, Director of the awarded programme, Zürich, Switzerland
When describing this documentary "Martha Argerich, Evening Talks" by Georges Gachot, it would perhaps be more fitting to think of it as "A Portrait of an Artist", an artist who was both entertaining and endearing to the viewer from the outset. The extreme honesty which she displayed was uniquely refreshing, and was reflected by the director´s approach. The boundaries often present between the interviews and musical sections were expertly merged screating an organic work which flowes from start to finish. This work captured the very essence of Martha Argerich, unfolding effortlessly like her performances.
Annäherung an eine Starpianistin
Georges Gachot präsentiert am Churer Kinofest seinen Film über Martha Argerich
Freunde der klassichen Musik kommen heute Abend am Churer Kinofest auf ihre Rechnung. Der Schweizer Filmemacher Georges Gachot präsentiert um 19 Uhr im Kino Apollo seinen Film über die Starpianistin Martha Argerich.
Es ist mittlerweile zur Tradition geworden, dass Schweizer Filmschaffende dem Churer Kinofest einen Besuch abstatten und bei dieser Gelegenheit dem Publikum ihre Filme persönlich vorstellen. Gestern war es Linoel Baier, der sein Werk «La Parade» im Kinocenter präsentiert hat. Und heute Abend reist gewissermassen ein «alter Bekannter» des Kinofestpublikums an: der Regisseur Georges Gachot. Er bringt seinen neuen Film «Martha Argerich, Nachtgespräch»
mit, den er den Zuschauerinnen und Zuschauern um 19 Uhr im Kino Apollo persönlich vorstellt.
Musikalische Leidenschaften
In seinem Film versucht sich Gachot der Person der Starpianistin Martha Argerich anzunähern, die als verschlossen gilt und nur ganz selten Interviews gibt. Und der Versuch gelingt: Die in Argentinien geborene Musikerin öffnet sich vor Gachots Kamera. Ihr persönliches Umfeld bleibt dabei aber mehr oder weniger abgeschottet. Dafür erzählt sie von ihren musikalischen Leidenschaften. Von Liszt, Ravel oder Schumann. Grosse Komponisten, zu denen sie eine imaginäre Beziehung pflegt. Es sind zwar eigenartige, aber dennoch faszinierende Dialoge, die Argerich mit dem Autor des Porträts führt. Gachot hält sich dabei diskret im Hintergrund, lässt die Pianistin frei über sich und die Rolle der Musik in ihrem Leben erzählen.
Ohne Begleitkommentar
Der Film verkümmert trotz seines hohen Anspruchs, eine Pianistin von Weltruhm zu porträtieren, indessen nicht zu einer trockenen musikwissenschaftlichen Diskussion. Denn die Künstlerin gibt sich im Laufe des «Nachtgesprächs» ziemlich selbstironisch, auch kann sie über sich selber lachen. Geschickt eingewoben in das Gespräch werden zudem Ausschnitte aus
Konzerten, die in Argerichs Leben eine grossen Rolle gespielt haben. Die vornehme Zurückhaltung des Autors gereicht dem Film aber nicht nur zum Vorteil. Grund: Gachots «Nachtgespräch» kommt ohne einen erklärenden Begleitkommentar aus. Und deshalb dürften sich besonders jene Filmfreunde etwas allein gelassen fühlen, die sich bis anhin nicht intensiv mit der Person und der Musik Argerichs auseinander gesetzt haben.
Das zweite Mal in Chur
Gachot war bereits vor zwei Jahren am Kinofest zu Gast. Damals zeigte er dem Publikum seinen Dokumentarfilm «... And the Beat goes on». Dieser gibt einen Einblick in das Wirken des Schweizer Kinderarztes Beat «Beatocello» Richner. Richner hat in Kambodscha drei Kinderspitäler erbaut, in denen er tagtäglich Hunderte von kranken Kindern behandelt.
© DIE SÜDOSTSCHWEIZ, Mittwoch 3. Juli 2002 / Dario Morandi



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