April 3rd, 2006
The first film of the Wisconsin Film Festival that I took in was Music From the Inside Out. It’s a profile of several members of the Philadelphia Orchestra which shows the role of music in their lives and tries to define music. In a broader sense, the film shows how art plays a great role in life generally. Since I enjoy music so much, I was predisposed to enjoy this movie and I did. Quite a bit.
Various sequences of the musicians at work within the orchestra are juxtaposed against what they do outside of the orchestra. A gentleman in the brass section also plays trombone in a Latin jazz band. Two brothers, who are violinists, also play bluegrass. Music is these people’s passion and they find it everywhere. We see one player of Italian extraction eating dinner at a restaurant when the waiter launches into an aria. Great stuff! In addition to watching these people play, we see others play as well. When the orchestra was touring Poland, several of them went out into the street as a guy was playing Vivaldi on the accordion. Stories are told – stories of how these folks became musicians. One guy related how he wanted to play the violin but all they had at his school was violas so he ended up playing that. Another musician related how his mother was set on him being a pianist from his childhood. And so it was. The film is full of these kinds of anecdotes. There are also times when they’re together sitting around in a room and talking. They talk about how music affects them and how they think music works. A few of these scenes end with another musician disagreeing with the comments of the first, testifying to the almost ineffable nature of music itself.
While the vast majority of the film is dedicated to the members of the orchestra, there was one very telling scene. In it, one of the violinists is kneeling on a rug surrounded by children who must have been 4 or 5. He would play and move in towards one of the kids and then sharply bow the violin making the kids laugh. There was one kid who looked as if he had Down Syndrome and I think he laughed throughout the whole sequence. As I watched, I thought to myself, “THAT is why I love music so much!” and I didn’t even know what it was. Something about how it moves everyone. It doesn’t matter if you’re young or old, man or a woman, and whatever color your skin may be, music cuts across all those lines and goes somewhere beyond them.