The masterful duo of Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal treat audiences to a bold animated story of a music journalist (voiced by Jeff Goldblum) on a quest to uncover the truth behind the disappearance of a young piano virtuoso.
They Shot the Piano Player
Fernando Trueba, Javier Mariscal
After a protracted gestation spanning more than a decade, the masterful duo of Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal — the creators of Chico & Rita (TIFF ’10) — treat audiences again with the animated story They Shot The Piano Player.
This upbeat, bold affair follows Jeff, a New York music journalist, on a quest to uncover the truth behind the mysterious disappearance of a young Brazilian piano virtuoso, Francisco Tenório Júnior. The resulting musical feature is not only an homage to the life of Tenório Jr. but also a celebratory origin story of the bossa nova musical movement, capturing a fleeting time bursting with creative freedom at a turning point in Latin American history in the ’60s, just before some South American countries such as Brazil and Argentina fell under totalitarian regimes.
But wait, there’s more. The film casts some of música popular brasileira’s greatest figures, from João Gilberto to Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Vinicius de Moraes, Paulo Moura, and others, all of them giving heartfelt testimony to the enormous talent and vision Tenório Jr. had and shared with them. And, to top the whole deal off, the main character and narrator is voiced by the great Jeff Goldblum, who encapsulates the passion that seeps through the luminous animation. The film takes us on a vibrant journey to the heart of a music that would change history forever, and shares the tragic story of a musician whose life was cut far too short.
Official Selection, 2023 Toronto International Film Festival