With the support of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, the Moscow Government and the Department of Culture of the city of Moscow



Almost modern-day Russia. The concert hall is full, the orchestra is on the stage, a young Korean clarinet player faces the applause, then turns to the conductor standing next to him, bows, says “My name is Seong-ho,” adjusts the glasses on his nose, looks for notes. This is how “Nocturne” begins, a touching documentary accompanied by great music, possibly the most intimidating film of this year’s Moscow Film Festival. The director of «Nocturne» is a South Korean TV-journalist and producer Gwanjo Jeong. It is possible he came across the story about a boy with special needs and musical talent while working on TV. After all, the very first frames of the film date back to the middle of the 2000s. Maybe a talented musician soon-to-turn real star was the plot of some TV-program. And it is also possible that later, years after, Gwanjo Jeong decided to turn these stories into his first full-length documentary, and has purposefully begun to follow the fate of the musician and his family. It is the family and not just the gifted eldest son who eventually becomes the main character of the story. The mother is raising her son with special needs, committing to being a translator between him and the world around, and supporting his musical talent. The boy plays piano, cello, and clarinet. She sacrifices her marriage for him – the father left the family. Her second son, Geon-gi, a boy with no special traits, lives in the same apartment. He is also taught music but doesn’t show any talent. He doesn’t exactly hate his brother but is jealous and doesn’t understand why it is him who was left motherless. «Nocturne» makes one recall either Ulitskaya’s «Daughter of Bukhara» with her generally optimistic ending, or “Up”, a PIXAR animated masterpiece with its beginning – the couple’s whole life is shown in a minute through a series of ties the wife tied for her husband until her death. The camera is incredibly close to the characters, inside every conversation, almost as it is its own character in every scene, it captured so much – if not the whole life of those three, then the war-time for sure. The mother at first appears as a still a relatively young woman, and then she ages rapidly, her hair turning grey. Her eldest son has been playing all his life, and her youngest son jumped from the woes of youth into the woes of adults, dropped out of school, and started a dubious business, left home, began to drink too much, but then managed to quit. He did everything he could to leave the family he never had. If the mother’s life was a battlefield, then his life was a living hell. It took time, Chopin, and Saint-Saëns for him to come to terms with it and realize that she’s been fighting for him, too. Almost a classical story.

Marina Latysheva