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‘Crescendo’ music has ‘universal power to heal’

Dan Webster

Above: The German-language film "Crescendo" begins streaming tonight at 7. (Photo: Menemsha Films)

If you’re planning on streaming the first offering of the 2021 Spokane Jewish Cultural Film Festival, you might be interested in hearing some critical reactions.

The German-language film "Crescendo," which was directed by Israel-born filmmaker Dror Zahavi, becomes available for streaming tonight at 7. Because it has been making the festival rounds, the film hasn’t attracted many reviews. And I couldn’t find any that come from national sources such as the New York Times, etc.

Here, though, is what a reviewer writing in the Massachusetts local newspaper The Berkshire Edge, had to say: “The strength of this predictable film is that it has honorable intentions without ever engaging in magical thinking. ‘Crescendo’ merely seeks to achieve some human connection between individual Arabs and Jews, even though the conflict between the Palestinians and Israelis has hardened and seems more insoluble with every passing year.”

And here is a passage from a review in the Newport (R.I.) This Week: “ ‘Crescendo’ transcends its predictability and noble intentions with, fittingly, gorgeous music that ranges from Dvorak’s ‘Serenade for Winds’ to Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons’ to, in a climactic moment, Ravel’s ‘Bolero.’ The theme of music’s universal power to heal is not new. But as the maestro tells his students, if Jews and Germans can manage to see the humanity in one another, others can find some common ground, too.”

As for fan reviews, one commented on IMDB.com that “Crescendo” is “a moving piece that stays with you long days after you've watched it.” Another described the film as “Profound, raw, and sensitive, it's a powerful humanitarian statement, claiming for better days in this broken world.” And a third added, “This film calls upon the rising generation to transcend the old animosity and work and play together, for a new harmony.”

Now it’s everyone else’s turn to have a say. First, though, you have to watch it. “Crescendo” will be available, for a $5 fee, to screen online through Saturday. As the festival website informs us, once you start streaming the film you'll have 48 hourse to finish. 

The festival itself, which this year is all-virtual, runs through March 12.

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