Celebration of the four seasons in four different nations through the eyes of a brilliant violinist of that country, playing the relevant movement from the Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi. Spring, Tokyo - Sayaka Shoji; Summer, Australia - Niki Vasilakis; Autumn, New York - Cho-Lang 'Jimmy' Lin; Winter, Finland - Pekka Kuusisto.
Review by Louise Keller:
Four countries, four seasons and the timeless music of Vivaldi's classic concerto is the concept behind the documentary, simply titled 4. It's a nice idea that is well executed as the film juxtaposes different cultures, lifestyle and emotions on this unique musical backdrop. Violinists at each destination play not only the music, but talk about its imagery, their life, thoughts and philosophies. The result is more than you might expect, marrying a cultural travelogue saturated in music with life-affirming richness.
The splendid finale of Winter in Finland is my personal favourite, where the surreal, icy landscape with snow-tipped fir trees seems as warm as a hot toddy. Finnish violinist whiz-kid Pekka Kuusisto and friends journey to Lapland where the Winter Concerto is performed in a rustic private home. Autumn in New York, with its amber hues contrasting the starkness of its skyscrapers is also satisfying, as we meet Taiwanese-born New York violinist Cho-Liang Lin and his musician friends, performing and interacting at Barney Greengrass' delicatessen on the Upper West Side. From dogs-of-all-sizes being walked in Central Park to the hubbub of the centre, we are energised in this thriving metropolis heart.
Surprisingly, the weakest segment is Summer in Australia, when musicians travel to Thursday Island to perform. The sweltering heat and harshness of the Australian landscape is mentioned, rather than felt, and the ambitious integration of the Torres Islanders confuses. Cherry blossoms in Japan, where our journey begins, are picturesque as they herald the promise of Spring, and musicians express their sense of harmony. It seems apt that the final shots of the four violinists from the four corners of the world are edited together effortlessly, as their bows describe Vivaldi's musical phrases with ethereal beauty.
Published November 29, 2007
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4: DVD (G)
CAST: Documentary featuring violinists Sayaka Shoji, Niki Vasilakis, Cho-Liang Lin, Pekka Kuusisto
PRODUCER: Joanna Buggy, Tim Slade
DIRECTOR: Tim Slade
SCRIPT: Joanna Buggy, Tim Slade
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Pieter de Vries ACS
EDITOR: Lindi Harrison
MUSIC: Antonio Vivaldo
RUNNING TIME: 88 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Vast Productions
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: August 16, 2007- Cremorne Orpheum, Sydney; other venues to follow
SPECIAL FEATURES: Booklet
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Madman
DVD RELEASE: December 4, 2007