The Friday Afternoon Movie: 4

A film for violin nerds on today’s FAM. Tom Slade directs 4, a film that follows four different violinists on four different continents playing one of the world’s most well known compositions, Antonio Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons.

4 begins in Spring in Tokyo, with violinist Sayaka Shoji, segueing into Summer in Australia and violinist Niki Vasilakis before moving on to New York in Autumn with Cho-Liang Lin and finally ending in Finland in Winter with Pekka Kuusisto. It’s a quite a journey, though I’ll admit to being partial to Autumn as there really is nothing like New York City in the fall. The show-stopper here, however, is Finland. The scenery on display in this last act is nothing short of stunning.

All of it is accompanied by a beautiful piece of music. Vivaldi was a mainstay for me growing up. My grandmother had studied the violin and graduated from Juilliard before marriage and WWII sidelined those dreams. She had inherited the love of the instrument from an uncle who was a member of the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra. She had, for a time, tried to pass this love and ability down to me, an endeavor she would abandoned in despair, her oldest grandchild seemingly devoid of any musical talent. Her violin, as it is for many who play I would assume, remains her most prized possession. She has, apparently, stipulated in her will that it must never be sold as doing so will, no doubt, bring down some ancient Hungarian curse upon our family.

The musical aspect, then, was what I found most intriguing about this film for while I love The Four Seasons the musicians here are in possession of a wealth of knowledge that I am completely ignorant of. They make for a fascinating lecture on just what is going on in each movement, what events transpire and what each instrument represents, all facets of the music I was never aware of.

It’s a meditative film, made slightly ominous by each musician noting how the weather seems to be changing. But regardless of such politically charged observations it remains delightfully calming — a soothing musical travelogue. The perfect film for a Friday afternoon.

One Response to “The Friday Afternoon Movie: 4”

  1. Shannon Says:

    This was lovely. Thanks!