The Song of Names
Screening: Wednesday, February 5
Genre: Great Britain drama
In his impressive film The Red Violin, talented director Francois Girard followed the fate of a superb violin as it passed from one talented musician to another over many years; in his new film, it is not the fate of a superb violin that Girard pursues, but that of a superb violinist over many years. 9-year-old Polish Jewish refugee and violin prodigy, Davidl Rapoport (Luke Doyle), arrives in London, just before the Holocaust and is taken in by music publisher Gilbert Simmond’s (Stanley Townsend’s) family. The young Davidl and Gilbert’s son, Martin (Misha Handley) become best friends. On the eve of Davidl’s professional debut, financed by Gilbert’s savings, the young prodigy mysteriously disappears, never to return.
35 years later, middle-aged Martin (Tim Roth) follows a slim lead to Warsaw, to New York and then back to London, as he tries to uncover the mystery of the whereabouts of his friend (Clive Owen). By focusing on Martin’s determined search for his missing childhood friend, Girard’s film, is itself a powerful and passionate performance, A Song of Names (the title of Norman Lebrecht’s novel from which the story was adapted) identifying and remembering loved ones who have disappeared, deeply missed by those involuntarily left behind.