Thursday, February 22, 2024

They Shot The Piano Player (2023)

An animated documentary with an injection of  narrative THEY SHOT THE PIANO PLAYER is nominally the  story of Francisco Tenorio Jr., a Jazz pianist it is also the story of the Bossa Nova the politics of military take overs. Structured to follow the fictional magazine writer Jeff Harris (voiced by Jeff Goldblum) as he works on a book on the Bossa Nova before switching to the story of Tenorio Jr. who disappeared one night while running to get sandwiches, never to be heard from again. 

This is a good documentary from directors Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal who made the Oscar nominated CHICO AND RITA. It is vibrant and alive. Full of eye popping colors and endless music. It's a trip into another time and place, as well as warning about the dangerous of a repressive government.

To be honest as much as I like the film I find I think of it more as a narrative than a doc. It's not that it's animated, rather I think it's simply that the narrative structure over whelms the central mystery. Yes the film is telling a real life tale, but everything around it overwhelms the tale. The fiction of Harris' journey becomes the story not Tenorio. Additionally the story of the history of the Bossa Nova also pulls us, making us want to know more about that as well. I suspect had I known more about the music I wouldn't have felt to need more about it.

Reservations aside I really liked this film and want the soundtrack.


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