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TIFF 2019 Film Review: “The Song of Names” (2019) ★★★


I will certainly never get tired of saying the following – no matter how hard wars try to break the human spirit, it still cannot take that connection away from life it is linked to. There’s always someone who will outshine, be different, special, and talented to the point where he or she must find a place to find refuge from those who will demand the presence of the person who does not want to be seen or found. 

“The Song of Names” follows a grown-up man who is in search of his childhood friend he proudly called a brother. When on the day of a highly-anticipated concert, talented violinist, Dovidi Rapoport (Clive Owen), a Polish musical prodigy does not show up, his best friend, Martin (Tim Roth), is forced to bring an apology to the audience and cancel the entire show. But thirty-five years later, when at one of the contests, he hears a young man playing the violin so beautifully, he quickly recognizes the mark of Dovidi and begins his emotionally-charged search of the man he could never detach himself from.

Directed by Francois Girard, “The Song of Names” is a moving drama about a strong bond shared between two men who were closer than real brothers. From start to end, it cleverly navigates through the timeline by delivering what is necessary for the story of Martin and Dovidi to unfold to explain Dovidi`s decision to disappear in the first place. And by the time when the film ends, many questions will be answered except one, the one that a lifelong experience would fail to answer – why do people want to stay away from those who love them so dearly? Why staying away when being closer is the ideal option? The problem is that in a different time different people who went through harsh wars and suffered the ultimate loss see things differently. Thus, they should be left alone as it’s the only way to give them satisfaction in the form of loneliness that sometimes is a better cure than any company.

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