Making Beethoven Proud
13 May 2022
Sebastian Rohn, Cindy Henkin, Debrah Neal
A high school boy with a passion for playing the piano suffers damage to his hearing and finds a way to overcome his disability.
Benji (Rohn) is a teenager who loves piano music. Unfortunately, he is being bullied and after a relentless act by his tormentors, Benji's ability to hear is severely sabotaged. As a result, his world begins to fall apart, until he finds salvation in the form of his greatest strength: the piano.
This emotional short drama follows the life of a young man who is pursuing his dreams of becoming a pianist. Then suddenly, all that collapses and he has found himself living an empty life, unable to play music, enjoy life or just communicate. The atmosphere turns rather bleak while he struggles with his loss and then things look hopeful and take a turn for the better as he realises that he can still play the piano.
The story is seen through Benji's perspective and it is heartbreaking watching his world fall apart after his hearing becomes impaired. His passion for piano is clearly shown as he plays and so is his determination to hold on to it. His character has similarities to the great German composer and pianist Ludwig van Beethoven, who also suffered hearing loss. The film's title could be referring to Benji's determination to continue pursuing his music ambitions despite having a disability that is similar to Beethoven's. Benji does not speak throughout the film, indicating that music is his language, his way of communicating with the world.
One of the features that stands out the most are the sound techniques. After the terrible incident, all sounds become muffled, giving the audience an idea of Benji's current hearing state and making them feel quite sorry for him.
As the title suggests, this is a story that involves piano practising, therefore, unsurprisingly, there is a great deal of wonderful piano music to be heard throughout and composer Peter Naughton does a superb job.
Brandon Hoeg delivers beautiful cinematography and Marcus Aubin is creative with the editing, especially during a dramatic sequence that involves parallel editing, moving between the present and a scene that might be imaginative or taking place in the future.
This is a moving film that explores the magic of music and the power of the human spirit. It examines how one's passion and determination can get them out of a seemingly hopeless situation.