Alison Chernick’s documentary Itzhak “is a fond portrait of the violinist Itzhak Perlman,” writes Helen T. Verongos in Thursday’s (3/8) New York Times. “He makes ‘garbage-pail soup’ for Alan Alda; plays the national anthem for a Mets game; collaborates, jovially and seemingly scrubbed of ego, with other musicians. Most important, he plays…. Ample archival material shows a child sensation playing on the ‘Ed Sullivan Show’ in 1958 and a young man performing in Israel in 1974…. Ms. Chernick devotes time to Mr. Perlman’s discussions of the violin—its presence at Auschwitz, for example—with luthiers and students. To elicit a sound from a piano is automatic, Mr. Perlman says in Hebrew…. To coax emotional shadings from a violin, ‘the more you have in your heart, the more you have to give,’ he explains. The film crew follows him unobtrusively through New York moments: observing the Sabbath with family, rehearsing a trio or maneuvering his scooter through snow. His wife, Toby Perlman [is] a sunny, empathetic presence…. The film glides lightly and uncritically along the surface of a life.”

Posted March 12, 2018