Pianist, Seymour Bernstein is the subject of an Ethan Hawke produced documentary

Seymour in his living room

It’s about time a pianist, teacher, composer and author made it to the big screen.

Seymour Bernstein is the star of a 81-minute documentary that’s drawing critical acclaim in early Festival showings.


On the East Coast, Seymour: An Introduction is slated for two important fall screenings at the prestigious New York Film Festival at Lincoln Center:

Saturday, September 27 at 12:00pm
Walter Reade Theater
165 West 65th Street

Monday, September 29 at 9:00pm
Francesca Beale Theater
144 West 65th Street

To whet the appetite of moviegoers, a sterling review by Thomas Powers portends a hit in the making or perhaps a future Oscar nomination:

“Ethan Hawke directs this intimate documentary portrait of classical pianist, composer, author, teacher and sage Seymour Bernstein.

“Seymour Bernstein isn’t well known, but he’s deeply cherished by those who do know him. Living in a small Manhattan apartment at age eighty-five, he appears fully content with his choice to forgo a promising career as a concert pianist in order to teach music. Now Ethan Hawke, one of his greatest admirers, takes us into Bernstein’s world with this delicately crafted film, offering a wise and charismatic reflection on art and life.

In Seymour: An Introduction, Hawke mostly stays off camera and lets Bernstein do the talking — and the man is a sweet-natured font of thought-provoking stories as he reminisces about his experiences growing up, playing piano for soldiers in the Korean War, and struggling with performance anxiety. As Hawke recalls, he first met Bernstein at a dinner party while grappling with the question “why make art?,” and that theme winds its way through the film as the teacher carries on conversations with accomplished friends such as art critic Michael Kimmelman and religious scholar Andrew Harvey. He also reflects on the careers of pianists Glenn Gould and Clifford Curzon, seen in archival footage, and his deep love of piano music proves infectious.

“Hawke (also at this year’s Festival starring in Good Kill) shows himself to be a sensitive documentary portraitist, adding to his accomplishments as an actor, fiction director, and novelist. Calling to mind My Dinner with André, his film is full of urbane conversation and infused with the sophisticated rhythms of New York City. Whether aficionados or newcomers to the world of classical music, viewers will find much to gain from this introduction to Seymour.”


UPDATE: From the Hollywood Reporter

For Ticket and other information:

In Toronto as part of its Film Festival (TFF), showings are as follows:

7:00 pm Wednesday, September 10 in the Light Box on King St.

Individual tickets go on sale September 2.

LINKS to Blogs about Seymour

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