You don't need to be knowledgeable about classical music to savor Pianomania any more than you need to know about Donkey Kong to enjoy TheKing of Kong. The Vienna-set documentary burrows into the professional life of Steinway & Sons' chief technician and master tuner Stephan Knüpfer. By necessity, Knüpfer takes an empathetic approach to fulfilling the needs of both pianists (we watch him work with some of the greats) and pianos — which, though massive, are fragile creatures of wood and wire. Directors Lilian Franck and Robert Cibis eschew "How'd you get started?" chitchat and instead observe the lanky, intense Knüpfer during the year-long preparation for a recording session in which Pierre-Laurent Aimard will perform Bach's The Art of the Fugue. Their camera takes a fantastic voyage to the innards of the instrument, as Knüpfer labors to achieve the artist's desired effect with materials as complex as sound reflector panels and as simple as a strategically placed piece of felt.
93 MINUTES | MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS