According to The Hollywood Reporter, François Girard’s newest feature, The Song of Names is “clearly made by folks who are passionate about classical music.” Fittingly for the director of 1998’s celebrated The Red Violin, the film is a “Holocaust-themed requiem” that uses masterful original compositions by Howard Shore and classical cuts in adapting music critic Norman Lebrecht’s lauded novel for the big screen.
Martin Simmonds (Tim Roth) has been haunted throughout his life by the mysterious disappearance of his “brother” and extraordinary best friend, a Polish Jewish virtuoso violinist, Dovidl Rapaport, who vanished shortly before the 1951 London debut concert that would have launched his brilliant career. Thirty-five years later, Martin discovers that Dovidl (Clive Owen) may still be alive, and sets out on an obsessive intercontinental search to find him and learn why he left.
Ludwig van Toronto reports Girard as saying “I came into my door to film through music,” and that, despite the fear of repeating the same themes of his earlier work, The Song of Names universality and powerful story spurred him to tackle the project.
The Song of Names screens Sunday, October 20th, 2019 in the Special Presentation program at the Chicago International Film Festival.