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Madame Sousatzka

Madame Sousatzka

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Madame Sousatzka, Bengali Sushila Sen and her son, Manek, relocate from India to London after Sushila’s relationship with her husband fails. Sushila struggles with everyday living. A child piano prodigy, Manek’s schoolteacher refers him to a piano teacher, Irina Sousatzka, a Russian immigrant renowned for her teaching skills. Irina forms a strong bond with Manek, not only teaching him piano but also valuable life lessons. Disagreements arise, as Manek does not want anyone to run his life for him, but nevertheless the training progresses. Sushila, a baker and seller of Indian cuisine, loses an important client after her hair is found in one of her baked goods. To help his mother, Manek feels pressure to use his piano skills to earn some money. This is against Irina’s wishes, however, as she is trying to protect Manek from her own negative experiences as a young concert pianist. She believes no student should perform until they are ready. But Manek, encouraged by a pushy music agent, decides to perform with the London Symphony Orchestra, ready or not.

Shirley MacLaine & Shabana Azmi in a Terrific Drama

Madame Sousatzka, Shirley MacLaine’s Golden Globe winning performance was matched by India’s gorgeous star actress, Shabana Azmi’s as Sushila Sen. MacLaine’s part is that of a reputably in high demand local piano teacher who takes younger piano prodigies to the brink of their entrance into public performances. Then, the big name men piano professors get a stronghold on them. Madame Sousatzka remains in the shadows as the one who truly molded them into great musical performers.

It’s interesting that India’s Shabana Azmi is hardly even mentioned as a best supporting actress though her part was to be the mother of one such piano prodigy who Sousatzka molded. A mother who baked & baked to earn the money for her son’s piano lessons.

The plot, director, acting, actors, music, sets, lighting, editing & costumes are all very well done. In a world where every other word has to be bleeped because it’s cursing, this film is refreshing and suitable to hold the interest of refined adults & children, especially ones interested in musical careers.

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