Best music doc at VIFF: Michel Petrucciani

October 29, 2011

As I always do when the Vancouver International Film Festival rolls around, I saw a bunch of music documentaries. This year’s crop that I caught included Morente (about a flamenco great), Andrew Bird: Fever Year (about a difficult but productive year in the life of a brilliant alternative musician), and Michel Petrucciani. The film about Petrucciani, who was three feet tall and one of the world’s greatest jazz pianists before he died young, was by far the best music doc I saw. It was insightful about his music and funny, as it showed how he lived life full-on, despite his physical challenges.

I have a thing for characterful cemeteries, like Père Lachaise in Paris. I’ve been there a number of times, and on the last visit, I saw Petrucciani’s tombstone. So he’s there with Chopin, Jim Morrison, Edith Piaf, Maria Callas, and other iconic artists. When I visited, I didn’t know what I know now about Petrucciani’s extraordinary life after seeing the film. But I’m glad I saw the resting place of a master musician.

Michel Petrucciani's, Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris

How masterful was he? Check out this mind-blowing version of “Caravan”:


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