Extraordinary...Masterful...Beautifully realized...Deeply touching.
There are so many words that could be used to describe French filmmaker Luc Plissonneau's newest film, Izak's Choice,
yet I am left speechless by Plissonneau's mastery of image and language and sound and silence. I am awestruck, really, that such a complex and deeply moving film can be constructed in the span of a mere 17 minutes.
There is so much to admire about Izak's Choice,
so much beauty and wonder and intimacy and subtle power that it's hard not to wonder how so many Hollywood films fail so miserably while Plissonneau is able to create such beauty in so little time.
Izak (pianist Ivan Ilic) is a gifted classical pianist who has become embittered after a string of failures. Reduced to earning a meager living by teaching piano lessons, Izak acquires a 16-year-old student named Lucie (Sarah Perroud). Lucie's zest for life and youthfulness of spirit empowers Izak. Izak succeeds brilliantly at an important audition, finally offering him the opportunity to play a major concert. However, the day of his audition Lucie is seriously injured in a tragic accident. On the day of his grand recital debut, Izak decides to change the rules.
Ivan Ilic, a Paris-based classical pianist with a reputation for performances that are filled with both precision and personality gives a magnificent performance as Izak. While it's not surprising that Ilic would master the performance aspects of Izak's character, it is absolutely revelatory that he seems to so completely embody this man who gifted, wounded, healed, empowered and so remarkably loving within the film's 17 minute running time. There isn't an ounce of pretense or posturing in Ilic's performance, but instead a screen presence that exudes honesty and authenticity.
The same is true for Sarah Perroud, whose performance is filled with vibrancy, tenderness, maturity and vulnerability. Perroud's chemistry with Ilic is both innocent and sensual, playful and disciplined. There's a truth that manifests between the two that makes the film's closing scene simply unforgettable.
The camera work by Patrick Noel and Jean Marie Laugery is a perfect match for the film's varying tones of sorrow and celebration, paced perfectly with Plissonneau's nearly minimalist dialogue. Every image, every sound, every word and every musical note seems to have meaning in Izak's Choice,
which Plissonneau recently completed and is preparing for the festival circuit.
Much like a performance by its lead actor Ivan Ilic, Izak's Choice
is filled with unforgettable moments of precision, poise, personality and passion for life and love. Destined to be wildly popular on the film festival circuit, this inspiring and life-affirming film is one you will not forget.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic