Academic journal article Notes

Bloody Daughter

Academic journal article Notes

Bloody Daughter

Article excerpt

Bloody Daughter. DVD (Blu-ray). Directed by Stéphanie Argerich. [Berlin]: EuroArts, 2013. 3073904. $26.99.

While there a number of documentaries focused on male pianists, it is harder to find similar material on their female coun- terparts, and if you are seeking an insider's perspective, the offerings are slim, indeed. In documentary filmmaker Stéphanie Argerich's first film, she explores the com- plex family relationships between herself and her parents, concert pianists Martha Argerich and Stephen Kovacevich. Filmed over the span of two decades and in various European cities where the principals live, this engrossing production delivers rare in- sights into both the personal and profes- sional lives of these two musicians and their families.

In creating this family portrait, Stéphanie blends contemporary documentary, archival footage, and family movies, giving unprecedented access to the private lives of her parents. Ultimately, however, it is Stéphanie's story that is told as she searches to uncover the reasons for her unconven- tional upbringing and her complex rela- tionships with her parents and her siblings. We hear Stéphanie's voice delivering com- mentary while watching a younger Martha perform onstage or give interviews about the problems of integrating child rearing into her career and for the few film se- quences that show her parents together. As Stéphanie did not grow up spending a great deal of time with her father, the bulk of the film is devoted to her life with Martha and her half-sisters. Through her reminiscences, the filmmaker reveals the sometimes tenuous relationship between mother and daughter, as well as the prob- lems created by Martha's touring and per- formance schedules. The film presents a brutally honest image of the pianist; in many scenes, Martha is filmed barefoot, at times clad in pajamas, and even half- dressed and fretting backstage before a concert. We see an intimate side of Martha as we watch her battle insecurities while waiting to go on stage, cope with the rigors of traveling on tour, and interact with her three daughters.

On one level, the film is a riveting look at a pianist who has grown up in the public eye, struggling to integrate the demands of a professional career and motherhood, while maintaining an active performing schedule even now at age 70. …

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