Testimony is one of those comparatively rare events nowadays - a real piece of cinema. Palmer's prowess as an editor, his knack of juxtaposing image and music - something which has remained his forte since he first caused a stir back in the Sixties with Buddhist monks burning to The Beatles - has a field day in Testimony. Most importantly for a movie about a composer, there is always the feeling that Palmer understands the music. For a start he puts to rest the hoary old cliché that the private Shostakovich is only to be found in his chamber music - try listening to the Seventh, Eighth, Ninth and Fourteenth symphonies - but he also brings vividly alive musical details in colour sequences showing the orchestra, as in the climax of the Fifth..... a truly remarkable film.
Stuck in the middle with Stalin
- Testimony: The Story of Shostakovich review by MW
(0) of (0) members found this review helpful.
You rated this film: 3
Black and white account of scenes from the turbulent life of the Russian composer beautifully made but far too long and, ironically, lacking in the forward momentum which distinguishes so much of Shostakovich's music. However, die-hard fans will undoubtedly find much to satisfy them in this chronicle focusing on the bleak relationship between the state-harassed composer and his oleaginous nemesis Stalin - admiring but deeply suspicious of his talent - played out against a landscape of music by turns melancholy, martial and magnificent.