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TIFF Futures: ‘A Late Quartet’ Writer and Director Yaron Zilberman On “The Beauty and Inevitable Pain of Being Alive”

TIFF Futures: 'A Late Quartet' Writer and Director Yaron Zilberman On "The Beauty and Inevitable Pain of Being Alive"

Yaron Zilberman’s “A Late Quartet” centers on the members of a Manhattan-based string quartet who have been performing together for 25 years, and the resounding effects of the cellist’s departure from the group. For his first feature film, Zilberman assembled an exceptional cast that includes Catherine Keener, Christopher Walken, Philip Seymour Hoffamn, and talented newcomer Imogen Poots.

The group’s complex performances elevate Zilberman’s relationship-driven script, and breathe life into its serious themes which might otherwise turn maudlin in the hands of lesser actors. The classical music which permeates the film’s urban landscape lends Zilberman’s ambitious efforts a haunting quality that has been generating buzz since the film’s premiere in Toronto last week. 

What the film is about: A world-renowned string quartet’s “To Be or Not To Be.”

Now tell us what it’s really about…: The Beauty and Inevitable Pain of being alive.

Where are you from?: I was born in Haifa, Israel, grew up in Tel Aviv, studied in Boston, and for many years now I’ve also been a New Yorker.

Impressive Resume: I love art. I studied Physics. I’ve worked as a mathematician on Wall Street. I built buildings. I was involved in start-ups. I was introduced to a film project. I made my first film, “Watermarks.” Ever since, making movies has become an obsession.

Inspiration for ‘A Late Quartet’: Beethoven’s “Late Quartets,” New York City, and an uncontrollable need to dwell on a family dynamic and long-term relationships.

Biggest challenge?: To film it in 25 principal shooting days during one of New York’s harshest winters in decades, while filming in such delicate locations as the Frick Collection, with 24/7 coaching for the cast to become world-class string players.

Any specific Film Influences During Filming?: All of Ingmar Bergan’s and Elia Kazan’s.

New films in the works?: Haunted by several ideas. Soon to submit to one of them.

Indiewire invited select newcomers to the Toronto International Film Festival to tell us about their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they faces, and what they’re doing next. We’ll be publishing their responses throughout TIFF. Go HERE to read other profiles.

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