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A SONG FOR MARTIN

Sweden / Denmark, 2001 (MIFF 2002, Northern Lights)

Director: Bille August

Martin Fischer, one of his nation's most beloved and esteemed composers, begins a fiery relationship with his married first violinist Barbara. An idyllic Moroccan honeymoon and the imminent completion of his most eagerly anticipated symphony are overshadowed by a creeping unease.

"A tender and compassionate portrait of a couple whose relationship is ravaged by Alzheimer's disease. A Song for Martin deals with the effect of the disease on an exceptionally gifted artist and his tirelessly supportive spouse. Directed by Bille August with unflinching honesty and meticulous attention to character and dramatic structure, it is a remarkable achievement.

"Because Alzheimer's is a metaphor for loss in so many ways - the loss of memory, the loss of self-awareness, the loss, for the spouse, of a loved one - the film looks at the composer's life as a sort of unfinished symphony. Within that framework, its dramatic sequences are reminiscent of musical movements that build on one another. From its invitingly upbeat overture to its pathos-filled but ultimately life-affirming finale, A Song For Martin is a masterfully conducted work." - LA Times

Bille August (born in Denmark, 1948) is one of modern European cinema's most assured and versatile directors. He made his first film, My Life, in 1978 and has since oscillated between sweeping epics and smaller, more intimate pictures. August won the Palme d'Or and an Oscar for Pelle the Conqueror (1987) and international recognition for such films as Best Intentions (1992), The House of Spirits (1993) and Les Miserables (1998).

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