Mark Kidel: Alfred Brendel: Man and Mask / Germany, Great Britain / 2000 / music: Joseph Haydn, Franz Schubert, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart / in English with Czech subtitles / 70 min.
“When you play, the piano stool you're sitting on must be on fire!” It is certainly not an easy task to capture the personality of one of the greatest musicians of our time in a documentary portrait. The reviewers of Mark Kidel’s film about Alfred Brendel are nevertheless in agreement in stating that the British filmmaker delivered a flawless account of Brendel. In addition to the expected presentation of the private life of the artist, the probe into his biography and the essential displays of his artistic mastership (we will hear the recordings of key works from the pianist’s repertoire), it also presents the alter ego of Alfred Brendel to us: The universally erudite man of letters and reciter of his lyric poetry. Yet another of the many masks worn by a single human being in a film with a very apt title.