Lise’s review published on Letterboxd:
This is quite possibly the most uncomfortable I've ever been watching a film/documentary, and I recommend you watch it if you can.
You are shy. Extremely shy. In fact, you don't like to talk, especially to strangers. And yet here you are, in a foreign country, being interviewed by someone who speaks another language (although he also speaks yours). You are a jazz pianist. Quite famous in some places.
So here you are, for 1 hour, on a stage that is all lit up. Have you ever been on a lit stage? It's hot. Really friggin hot. Thelonius Monk is wearing a suit and a hat and he's got longish hair and a huge beard. And he's under the stage lights. So yeah, he's getting hot - like menopausal hot.
He's sitting at a piano - a lovely piano. And he's just waiting... and waiting... and looking around... No one is saying anything. He's not sure what it is he's supposed to be doing. So after waiting around he has nothing else to do so he starts playing. Thelonious Monk starts playing. And you listen. You listen because it's kinda wondeful, whether you know Thelonious Monk or not. And still nothing from the people around him on this stage, so he plays again, and again.
Finally something happens.
The 'host' of the show leans on the piano and asks a question in French for the television audience and then again in English for you.
But you don't like answering questions. You always defer to your wife. She does all of that.
Oh, but you must. So the show host moves around a bit and repeats the question.
Darn, the host was not in the right position. He leans back on the piano and repeats the question in French and then in English.
You don't quite understand, it's the third time he asks you the same question.... but you answer as best you can.
The host asks you a few more questions, one at a time, always in French and English, and always repeated 2, 3, sometimes even 4 times if your answer wasn't good enough.
For 1 hour.
In a full suit with hat and full beard
on a stage with a lot of lights
and never once was he asked if he wanted water
or a cigarette, which he craves
he is completely ignored
And when his reply to a question is too honest, they have to figure out how to ask it again to get a better answer. The answer they want. The answer that would make The French feel good.
He never does give that answer.
So they repeat. Again. And Again.
He wants water.
He wants a smoke
Can you play something a bit more "peppy"?
He plays again.
Is it the end soon?