A feisty Prussian spinster who teaches piano to prison inmates is drawn to a convicted murderer who was once a musical prodigy in this surprising, compelling and often electrifying human drama.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2007
Surprise is a constant theme in director Chris Kraus’ feature about a precocious pianist and her elderly tutor. From the deafening opener to an electrifying finale, there are few moments that don’t overwhelm. Anchored by the redoubtable Monica Bleibtreu as a feisty Prussian spinster, Four Minutes is a drama about human relationships that’s explored with such emotional integrity that it will seduce the most cynical hearts. Frau Krüger teaches piano to prison inmates and is drawn to Jenny (Hannah Herzsprung), a convicted murderer who was once a musical prodigy. She could win them both prestige in a national competition, but first they must come together to fight prison authority, a haunted past and instinct that has betrayed them both. Kraus’ finely nuanced characters are all compelling, despite none being especially likeable – the ‘negro-music’-hating Krüger included. This fundamental law of attraction and repulsion serves to keep meter through the film, all the way to Jenny’s hair-raising final performance.