Joe’s Violin (2016)

ACADEMY AWARD NOMINEE – Kahane Cooperman’s short documentary “Joe’s Violin” is a touching, emotional, and pretty extraordinary portrait of the value of objects, and how music can touch us and bind us together as human beings. Centered on Holocaust survivor Joe Feingold, director Cooperman explores how Joe spent most of his young life struggling to survive in concentration camps. Despite all logic indicating that he bring along bare necessities like food or clothing, Joe kept his beloved violin with him throughout his life. A now 91 year old Joe donates his violin to a Bronx music school, and he reflects on his life as young Brianna Perez prepares to perform with it.

“Joe’s Violin” beautifully conveys how music can change our lives and bring us small doses of happiness in times of great misery and pain. Joe’s parting with his violin is heartbreaking and emotional, but as he enters in to very old age, he realizes its magic would be wasted in him, now that he is incapable of playing the instrument any longer. The donation prompts a truly touching reception, especially from Brianna whose humility and respect for Joe allows for some of the more emotional moments of the film. Brianna takes the antique and breathes a new life in to it, and its use in the school will allow its energy and Joe’s message about the importance of art and music, to live on for all eternity.

The primary focus of “Joe’s Violin” is on the keen symbolism of how the violin survived years of wear and tear just like Joe, and in many respects they are on and the same. They also represent a dark time, but a dark period where the Nazis attempted to destroy the Jewish, but could not destroy their humanity and love for music. “Joe’s Vioin” is a very poetic statement about how art and music can help us cope and confront difficult emotions. It’s a beautiful documentary that should be experienced by music lovers of all kinds.

WINNER – Audience Award at Milwaukee Film Festival 2016, Audience Award at Nantucket Film Festival 2016, Audience Award for Best Short at Lighthouse International Film Festival 2016, Audience Award for Short Film at Montclair Film Festival 2016, Best Short Award at Lighthouse International Film Festival 2016, OFFICIAL SELECTION – IDFA