Choir Boys HotDocs13 Review

Posted 9 years ago by myetvmedia

Choir Boys HotDocs13

Directed by the late Magnus Isaacsson and winner of the 2000 Best Documentary at the Mumbai International Film FestivalChoir Boys follows the journey of a group of homeless men as they come together as a choir. Some join to raise money, some for the novelty, and others simply for the love of music. Along the way, they must struggle with backstage drama, substance abuse, money and egos. Despite all this, they try, and mostly succeed, at setting an example.

Much like Muscle Shoals, music is presented here as a redemptive force. Pierre Antian, the choir founder, had the idea in Paris. If you want to be in the choir, certain standards must be maintained. We see one member given an ultimatum, dry up or leave. The choirmaster, Pierre Antian, is caught between a rock and a hard place. Is he trying to help them help themselves, or should he hold their hands? “To learn just one verse took all night. People brought everything to rehearsals except their music.”

The focus is on the choir and the members own problems. Several members are in rehab, one sneaks beer into an interview about his drinking problems. But when tragedy strikes, the choir comes together to rebuild what was lost.

The movie ends with a triumph, but with a bittersweetness. Throughout the film, we are shown other homeless, both in Canada and abroad, who have no such help. Some of the members of the choir do not defeat their demons. But many do. Music helps them save themselves and each other.

In French with subtitles.

 

Donal O’Connor

Choir Boys

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