In Itzhak, documentary short specialist Alison Chernick’s first feature in over a decade, the filmmaker translates her experiences briefly chronicling such stars as Pedro Almodóvar, Francis Ford Coppola and Rick Rubin to an 80-minute film that doesn’t feel like it’s skimping on any pertinent details.
Observational, or at least marvelously edited to look that way, the film gives the sense that beloved violinist Itzhak Perlman would behave as candidly and warmly as he does here even without the cameras present and rolling.
Whether palling around Citi Field before playing the national anthem at a Mets game, hosting Alan Alda for supper or rehearsing with Billy Joel for their Madison Square Garden concert, Perlman’s high-profile encounters are just part of his everyday life and he rolls with it all while sporting a gracious demeanor.
Chernick depicts these episodes in lean, tenderloin slices, leaving barely any fat to his doings while still working in important parts of his past, such as living with polio and turning points in his rise to fame.
It’s nothing that’s necessarily pushing any boundaries on technical or narrative levels, but considering how much the director fits into the svelte runtime and the emotional wallop it still packs, Itzhak nonetheless feels a bit revolutionary.
Grade: A-minus. Not rated, but suitable for all ages. Now playing at Grail Moviehouse
(Photo: Greenwich Entertainment)