Reviews - Piano to Zanskar
Piano to Zanskar
Reviewed By Pam Newns
The journey is fraught with tension; the yaks are smaller than expected so cannot transport the heavy iron frame and other piano parts, the terrain is extremely steep and perilous for carrying them by hand, the last day of the journey is a real test of stamina and Desmond suffers from exhaustion, and the strings are mangled to the point where is it uncertain if the piano will ever sound a note. However, it is also joyous, celebrating the beauty of the stunning mountain scenery, the openness of the villagers and the characters of the participants, including the unlikely talent of Harald to motivate the Sherpas with Viking songs.
Music is a motivating factor for the whole endeavour and permeates the film throughout. Ernst Reijsenger's soundtrack is wonderful and we are immersed in the sights and sounds of the Himalayan journey, including impromptu singing and dancing. It seems almost karmic that, on their arrival at the Buddhist primary school, the team encounter a German concert pianist who had just arrived herself. When she plays Beethoven’s 'Fur Elise' on the newly reconstructed piano it is generally agreed the sound is beautiful. And one of the village elders tries his hand at accompanying her. The local children seem to thoroughly enjoy the singing and movement session which Anna leads, as well as appreciating the strange new piano.
Piano to Zanskar recounts an epic journey through some majestic scenery with grace and humour. It also touches upon much larger themes of personal fulfilment, spirituality and the development of a culture. Both entertaining and providing food for thought.
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