Living with Imperfection
In his Boston basement apartment, which seems to come straight out of an old film noir, the great American pianist Ran Blake lives alone and endlessly fine-tunes his indefinable sound. For over 70 years, he has been driven by his obsession with cinema, which, in turn, has galvanized his music, creating a unique conversation between these two arts.
What music would Antoine Polin’s film evoke for us if we were to cut the sound? Chamber music, perhaps, to maintain the intimacy. Ran Blake, a famous composer-pianist, is sitting on his bed in the company of his odd-looking cat, DekTor. From there, he watches films again and again. This is not the pastime of a dilettante, as cinema is central to his inspiration. He knows his bedside films shot by shot, even anticipating each shadow, each sound. He would like to spend more time in the films, he says the people outside are boring. Yet his stories make him a unique character and Ran indeed seems to belong to the real world. Maybe not: his obsessive enumerations and his music draw us into more heavenly worlds. When he is not on his bed, the musician’s life is a mad rush: teaching at the university, recordings, tours. The rush advances in tiny steps, full of gentleness, it is also the portrait of an old man that makes its way through the film. Antoine Polin’s camera comes up close to the wrinkled skin and tired face, with candour. In the clutter of his memories, the man who is “addicted to the past” and has known so many people shares his reminiscences and impressions. Forever searching, curious about anything he can’t do. Spending a moment in Ran’s bedroom, listening to this great virtuoso, we share his feeling of sometimes being no more than a footnote, and gradually decipher his precept: live with imperfection.
Film director, editor colourist and musician, Antoine Polin is a multitasker, dividing his time between concerts, cinema and teaching. Living with Imperfection is his first documentary film project.