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Astor Piazzolla in Portrait
Astor Piazzolla in Portrait
Director: Mike Dibb
Genres: Indie & Art House, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
NR     2005     3hr 33min


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Movie Details

Director: Mike Dibb
Genres: Indie & Art House, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Music Video & Concerts, Classical
Studio: BBC / Opus Arte
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 02/22/2005
Theatrical Release Date: 05/02/2005
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 3hr 33min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
Edition: Classical
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: German, English, French, Spanish, Italian

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Movie Reviews

The Essence of the Man
Kurt Harding | Boerne TX | 12/10/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Unfortunately, most of us did not get to see Astor Piazzolla perform when he was alive. Now, thanks to the BBC, at least one of his live performances has been preserved for posterity. Astor Piazzolla In Portrait is a mixture of music, biography, and interviews of people germane to his story. It is an extremely important work for those who love the music of Astor Piazzolla in that it captures the essence of the man. It is important as well for those who are undecided about him, because after you see and hear this, you will be a fan forever.
I went straight to the music. The set is rather short yet is extremely powerful. Piazzolla offers commentary on his music between each song, giving the listener greater understanding of what Piazzolla is about. The songlist tilts heavily toward his modern material, and though I would have liked to hear some other songs as well, I am grateful that this DVD exists at all!
Highlights are an exquisite rendering of Milonga Del Angel, Zero Hour, and what is perhaps his best-known piece, Adios Nonino. The bonus feature of a rehearsal take of Milonga del Angel with James Crabb on accordion and Joanna MacGregor on piano is beautifully done as well and is about as true to Piazzolla as one can get on an accordion.
After the music, check out the hour and forty-five minute Tango Maestro which is a biography of Piazzolla interspersed with short interviews of musicians who featured prominently in Piazzolla's life. If that isn't enough, there is nearly another hour of additional interviews with family and some of the musicians Piazzolla worked with during his final decade. This is not boring stuff by any means, all these features bring Piazzolla vividly to life. And if you come away without a greater understanding of the man and his music, its time to watch and listen again!
If you are interested in Piazzolla on any level, I highly recommend this DVD. It is one you will want to watch time and again, and one you will cherish for life. With the DVD comes an informative booklet in English, French and Spanish. Get Astor Piazzolla In Portrait while its available, you won't regret it!"
Enjoyable and insightful
Ben Brouwer | Minneapolis, MN USA | 02/27/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"If only every composer throughout history had such an insightful treatment on DVD! Here we have somewhere around three hours of biography, interviews, live performances, and archive footage, some of it impossible to find elsewhere (I'm trying desperately to find the "El exilio de Gardel" film!). Even at such length, I wished for more, and found myself re-watching.

The biography portion of the disc doesn't gloss anything over; the comments from his family and bandmembers reveal the bad as much as the good. Among other things, we learn about his temper with his bandmates and what he said to his children when he parted with their mother. In the additional footage, I especially enjoyed demonstrations of rhythm and performance techniques by Fernando Suarez Paz and Pablo Ziegler.

Some of footage leaves room for improvement. For example, Yo-Yo Ma was interviewed in a dressing room, without respect for proper lighting and acoustics--obviously a very minor complaint, but it's no wonder his footage was left out of the television edit.

I agree with other reviewers who have said that this is a must-see for anyone who is even remotely a fan of Piazzolla's music."
A Bio of Astor Piazzolla
Leonard G. Cohn | New York, NY | 05/09/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"One of the most enjoyable time spent if front of the TV. This brilliant portrait of the great composer and performer inhabited my thoughts for days after viewing the DVD."
Eduardo | Miami, FL, USA | 02/06/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Marvelous English documentary about Piazzolla. Perhaps lacks a bit of Argentinean taste and background, but it's a 9.5 over 10."