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The Silent Touch

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Von Sydow is splendidly ornery as an aging composer, silent since surviving the Holocaust, who is inspired to write (and live) again by an idealistic young scholar (Bent‘s Bluteau). Along the way, his comeback story gets sidetracked by some creaky clichés — including a rejuvenating fling with a secretary and an opening-night collapse at the conductor’s podium — but director Krzysztof Zanussi (The Year of the Quiet Sun) modulates those moments in The Silent Touch with subtle character touches, and Miles, as the composer’s long-suffering wife, adds resonance to even the most predictable plot turns. Thanks to them, this portrait of the artist as an old man becomes more that just a Von Sydow showcase. B-

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