Irene Taylor Brodsky knows what it takes to make a Heartland Film. Winner of Best Documentary Feature at Heartland in 2007 for Hear and Now and Crystal Heart Award winner for Short Film in 2009 for The Final Inch, Brodsky's name is bound to bring a smile to both Heartland programmers and moviegoers alike.
In some ways, it's the journey that Brodsky began in 2007's Hear and Now that brings her back to Heartland International Film Festival in 2019 with her latest feature doc Moonlight Sonata: Deafness in Three Movements. A deeply personal memoir about Brodsky's deaf son, Jonas, along with his grandfather as he's growing older and, as well, none other than the composer Beethoven the year he was blindsided by deafness and wrote his iconic sonata that serves as the core of Moonlight Sonata: Deafness in Three Movements.
Moonlight Sonata: Deafness in Three Movements weaves its way through each of the three lives and leaves audience members a story about what we discover when we push beyond loss.
Brodsky, an Academy Award nominee for Best Documentary, Short Subject for The Final Inch, has crafted an engaging, involving film destined to please the entire family and practically tailor-made for Heartland audiences. For those who resonate with Moonlight Sonata, that resonance is bound to be a remarkably emotional one as the heart-tugging, emotionally honest film is practically guaranteed to trigger a tear or two during its 90-minute running time. You can't help but be inspired by the vision of young Jonas exploring his identity by tackling determinedly one of music's most iconic and beloved compositions.
Warmly narrated by Brodsky herself, Moonlight Sonata: Deafness in Three Movements magnificently captures the love of a family and how that love allows them to live into their deafness and hearing impairments. The grandfather's interest in film fueled Brodsky's own life, which has included Emmy and Peabody Awards, and her own willingness to capture this journey with her son on film.
We can all be thankful she did.
Deafness has been a common thread throughout Brodsky's family tree, occasionally skipping generations and occasionally showing up later in life, but it's a common thread that the family refuses to see as anything other than a superpower.
While there are moments in which Brodsky's emotional investment in her subject matter, her son, becomes a dominating factor in the unfolding film, for the most part she keeps her artistic integrity intact and the resulting film is a film that inspires, informs, and is destined to capture the hearts of Heartland audiences as Brodsky has become so great at doing.
Screening as a Documentary Feature Finalist in Competition at the 2019 Heartland International Film Festival, Moonlight Sonata: Deafness in Three Movements continues Brodsky's remarkable history with Heartland and shows once again that she's one of the most compelling, richly human documentarians working today.
For more information on Heartland International Film Festival, visit the Heartland Film website.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic