“They Shot The Piano Player”: a bossa-nova thriller


GFernando Trueba directs the investigation after discovering the history of the Brazilian pianist Francisco Tenorio Junior, who mysteriously disappeared in Buenos Aires at the age of 34, during the 1976 coup d’état. “I shot more than 140 interviews in different countries with his musician friends like Caetano Veloso and Milton Nascimento,” says the Spanish filmmaker. He doesn’t know what to do with all these rushes. When he learns the story of Brazilian pianist Francisco Tenorio Junior, who mysteriously disappeared before the 1976 military coup in Argentina, Fernando Trueba leads the investigation.

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“I had all these hours and hours and I wasn’t editing. I felt like I knew Tenorio even better than his family and the police. He became my friend,” she continues, her hands caressing the gold-warming radiator in her Latin American home in Paris.

An original biopic

Then comes the spark of creativity: rather than making another documentary or biopic, Trueba decides to make an animated film with a friend, the designer Javier Mariscal. “I’ve always had pretty standard problems with biopics,” he explains. Despite all of Forest Whitaker’s talent Bird Charlie Parker or Marion Cotillard the child In Édith Piaf, I always see actresses more than musicians. I prefer biopics filled with director fantasy, for example Ed Wood Tim Burton or Man in the Moon Author: Milos Forman. »

The two accomplices, respectively 69 and 73 years old, are not their first “animated coup”. In excellent Chico and RitaReleased in 2010, they recovered the great artists of Cuban music, between New York and Havana. In They shot the piano playera gesture Shoot the piano player François Truffaut and his ardent New Wave admirer, Fernando Trueba invents a fictional alter ego, an American journalist. The New Yorkerto which Jeff Goldblum (The Fly, Jurassic Park, Independence Day…) gives his voice.

Thanks to drawing, we can immerse ourselves in the clouds of memoriesJavier Mariscal

Animation allows all kinds of freedom. “It’s not my first language, but it’s still awesome to resurrect dead musicians. For example, it is known that Ella Fitzgerald sang in a cabaret in Rio, but there is no such image. I didn’t hesitate to take it back to the stage,” laughs Fernando Trueba. In front of him, with his hat planted on his gray hair, Javier Mariscal agrees with a smile: “Thanks to the drawing we can immerse ourselves in the clouds of memories of the people interviewed by Fernando. »

Famous in Spain, the graphic designer who created the mascots Cobi and Petra for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, a tireless critic of Francoism in the 70s and the ability to immerse himself in the nostalgic atmosphere of Rio 1970 for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. 1960. His line becomes harsher and colder as he describes Operation Condor, a joint campaign of assassinations and counter-guerrilla warfare by Latin American secret services.

Between Rio and Buenos Aires

Sometimes a thriller, sometimes investigative journalism or a historical story, the feature film based on very real facts straddles the line between fact and fiction. He takes us, in company, to the smoky bars where bossa nova is born Gilbert Gil, Caetano Veloso, Chico Buarque… These sacred monsters are drawn but, when they speak, it is done with their real voices. The scenes change, from the streets of New York to the Copacabana or the center of Buenos Aires, under the realistic style of Javier Mariscal, who is immersed in the American underground comics of the 1960s.

The music of Francisco Tenorio Jr., he played with the greatest musicians but recorded only one album under his own name during his life, Embado, carries the film. The colors explode when the musicians play, which Ella Fitzgerald “disperses” in Rio, but they darken during the visit to the School of Marine Mechanics, where the opponents of the Argentine dictatorship were tortured. with that They shot the piano player, as explosive as a sweet cocktail of cinematic genres, the filmmaker pays tribute to a prosperous era and gives the music an incredible expression of love. A beautiful and free film, like a jazz solo.

“They Shot The Piano Player”, by Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal. In theaters on January 31.


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