Seymour: An Introduction

A labor of love for director Ethan Hawke, this sensitive documentary profiles octogenarian pianist Seymour Bernstein, who abandoned a promising concert career to devote himself to teaching and now divides his time between private instruction and adjunct work at New York University. Bernstein mentored Hawke when the younger man was going through a rough patch in his acting career, and the onscreen discussions between the pianist and some of his more illustrious former students reveal one of those creative pedagogues who teaches not only what but why. Discussions of technique notwithstanding, the movie’s real subject is the difficulty—and the critical importance—of bringing into harmony one’s personal and artistic lives, of being not only a good artist but a joyful one.