A Late Quartet - Film Review
The film, A Late Quartet, is a “chick flick” for the more enlightened and yet dysfunctional in all of us. The movie stars Christopher Walken, who plays the elderly cellist and grandfatherly figure Peter of a quartet “The Fugue.” As the plot develops, we learn that Peter has developed Parkinson's Disease and desires to leave “The Fugue” in an upbeat manner.
A fugue in music is a compositional technique involving two or more instruments built on a theme. This technique can be seen in the movie as the lead characters watch each other intently while performing.
However, there is another subtle and yet deeper meaning to the quartet's name. The fugue is a rare psychiatric disorder characterized by reversible amnesia for personal identity, including the memories, personality, and other identifying characteristics of individuality. The fugue is short-lived, ranging from hours to days, but it can last for months or longer. It can sometimes be accompanied by the establishment of a new identity.
It is this meaning of “The Fugue” that the writer and director, Yaron Zilberman, has marvelously portrayed on the big screen. While the four lead characters struggle with their inter-personal relationships, the viewer may suddenly realize that all the characteristics of individuality end when the performance begins. As the grand-daughterly daughter says near the end of A Late Quartet– It's all about the Fugue.