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‘They Shot the Piano Participant’ Evaluation: Taking up a Bossa Nova Thriller

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Javier Mariscal and Fernando Trueba’s “They Shot the Piano Participant” is an astoundingly vibrant animated challenge, becoming for its material: the historical past and legacy of Brazilian bossa nova informed by means of the story of the disappearance and presumed loss of life of Francisco Tenório Júnior, one of many style’s most celebrated pianists and composers.

The movie, really a documentary set in a fictional context, begins in 2010, with Jeff Goldblum voicing the made-up music journalist Jeff Harris, whose article on bossa nova in The New Yorker lands him a guide deal and a visit to Rio de Janeiro to research the destiny one of many style’s most celebrated pianists.

Not like the final Mariscal-Trueba collaboration, the Academy Award-nominated Cuban drama “Chico and Rita,” the story on the heart of “They Shot the Piano Participant” is all too actual. Tenório Júnior vanished in Argentina through the top of a army dictatorship identified for erasing individuals who didn’t embrace its politics. Equally actual, and vivid are the over 150 interviews that Trueba performed for the movie, with buddies, household and colleagues of the pianist, a few of whom are the best-known names in bossa nova historical past: João Gilberto, Caetano Veloso, Milton Nascimento and extra.

The interviews seem, largely unaltered, in animated type, and getting to listen to these musicians bear in mind Tenório Júnior in their very own phrases towards the backdrop of the movie’s beautiful artwork course brings them extra to life higher than an ordinary live-action speaking head interview ever might. Even one thing so simple as the painted Arizona sundown descending behind Bud Shank as he remembers seeing Tenório Júnior play provides further depth to his phrases.

Goldblum’s character works as a surrogate for Trueba, jetting the world over to resolve his story and enthusiastically asking questions. However his character isn’t as fascinating as the story he’s making an attempt to inform, and his vocal interjections — when Jeff Harris turns into, unmistakably, Jeff Goldblum — may be distracting. The movie’s most memorable moments, by far, are when it simply lets the music play on.

They Shot the Piano Participant
Rated PG-13 for language and steered violence. Operating time: 1 hour 43 minutes. In theaters.