Washington Jewish Film Festival: Song of Names
François Girard (The Red Violin) delivers with another musical epic spanning decades and continents, powered here by spectacular performances from Tim Roth and Clive Owen. Constructed like a grand detective mystery, the film opens the night of the much-anticipated first public performance by Dovidl Rapoport, a Polish musical prodigy. When he fails to show up, his best friend Martin is forced to tell the packed theater that the performance will not go on. Decades later, an adult Martin (Tim Roth), serving as a judge in a musical competition, watches a young student prepare to play in Dovidl’s unique style. This moment sends Martin, over the strident objections of his wife Helen, on a transcontinental search. As the mystery of the disappearance unravels, Martin finds himself consumed by memories of the deep bond between the two boys — and also uncovering elements of Dovidl’s tormented life that Martin simply couldn’t have fathomed at the time.