Poland | 2023 | 89 min. | Jakub Piątek

It’s the prestigious International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw and young musicians from all over the world are ready to prove their dedication to classical piano in this virtuosic and crowd-pleasing sensation in the vein of documentary smash hit Spellbound.

Held once every five years in Warsaw, the International Chopin Piano Competition features the most promising early-career concert pianists in the world. Winning the competition often translates to instant fame in the classical music world: major recording contracts and concert dates. Jakub Piatek's Pianoforte offers a gripping behind-the-scenes view of the regimens, routines, and sacrifices these pianists make to train for and win this competition. Like in 2002's Spellbound about the Scripps National Spelling Bee, the documentary crew had to choose whose stories they would tell in advance of the final adjudication and outcome. This includes Leonora Armellini from Italy, Eva Gevorgyan from Russia, and Hao Rao from China. Piatek follows these and other competitors in their preparation regimes, which includes the distinctly different training styles of their piano teachers and mentors. Without the prescience of knowing the final result, the filmmaker and viewers together experience both the triumphs and heartaches of those we come to root for in the course of the documentary's tight 91-minute runtime.

SuJ'n Chon

  • Director: Jakub Piątek
  • Country: Poland
  • Year: 2023
  • Running Time: 89 min.
  • Producer: Maciej Kubicki
  • Screenplay: Jakub Piątek
  • Cinematographers: Filip Drożdż
  • Editors: Ula Klimek-Piątek
  • Music: Teoniki Rożynek
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Filmography: Debut Feature Film
  • Language: Polish, English, Italian, Slovene, Chinese, Russian
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • International Sales: Submarine