Have you ever heard about a pianist called David Helfgott? He is a very famous Australian pianist who can play Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No 3, which is infamous as the 'Symphony of the devil.' What is more impressive is that he suffered a physical disorder for the perfect Rachmaninoff. There is a movie based upon his true story—it is called “Shine" and it received 9 out of 10 for a music movie. The actor Jeffrey Rush displayed an outstanding performance and received an Academy Award for best actor.
Before we get into the movie, I will give you a brief introduction about Helfgott’s life.
(The first movement-- becoming a genius pianist)
David was born to Jewish family in Australia. He developed his talent in piano through his father, who was also a musician. His father, Peter, dreamed of becoming a violinist, but Peter's father didn’t approve it. Peter's father smashed his violin and his dreams shattered with the pieces as well. On the other hand, for David, piano made his life difficult. He had become a genius pianist, but his father would not allow him to showcase his skills and learn more. This led to unnecessary abuse, which forced David to run away and join the British Royal Academy.
(The second movement-- Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3)
His genius continued to grow after his admission, so he selected Rachmaninoff’s Concerto No. 3 for a contest. Why did he select this concerto? Only a limited number of pianists can play this and he realized that if he could play this one, he could become the best pianist in the world. However, after the decision he had gone through a traumatic change. Since there were so many keys and notes compared to other concertos, he could not control his own fingers and could not get a grip on his language. The day he finally played it perfectly was the day his soul was broken, in the moment he received a standing ovation.
(The third movement -- taking off to a new world of David Helfgott)
After that, he spent the next 10 years in a psychiatric hospital and he gradually became a forgotten figure. His passion, however, has never been forgotten. Although he did not play on prominent stages, he played anywhere he could, be it a church or a cafe.
He was no longer the best pianist in the world, but he found happiness in a woman called Gillian. He fell in love and married her, and she gave him the courage to regain his piano skills and even set a stage for him to come back out to the world.
I remember the final lines of the movie. "Life was gone, but it's not forever. The important thing is that life doesn't stop. So while life is going, we keep on going and we should not give up. Everything has its season. We just need to seize the reason for the season."< Copyright © The Gachon Herald All rights reserved >
He is still alive today and is passing on his passion for the piano to others. I was really moved and touched by this film, as it taught me about true happiness.