4 is an independent cinema documentary on one of the world's most exciting string quartets - the Quatuor Ebène. The film takes viewers along on the quartet’s tour of Italy, gradually drawing them into the ambivalent interactions that have come to characterise the four musicians’ long-standing relationship. Bolzano, Perugia, Florence and Siena, Salzburg and Berlin, form the involuntary backdrop to a piece about relationships and the antagonism between ambition and reality. Rather than focusing on the stage performances of the award-winning French Quatuor Ebène, 4 takes us behind the scenes to observe the musical and human processes usually hidden from the eyes of the concert audience: the string quartet’s struggle with scores and interpretational details, with colleague-friends – and with themselves. The Quatuor Ebène allowed themselves to be observed at close quarters, wherever they were and whatever they were doing. Never putting on a front for the camera, they embraced the opportunity to rediscover themselves through the filming. The compellingly intimate view that emerges was made possible thanks to the trust that evolved between the musicians and the film crew. As a result, we now have not only a unique testimony of the conflicting desires, sufferings and joys of music making, but also an interpersonal story of a quartet rich in exquisite intuition and subject to bizarre misunderstandings that cannot help but make us think.
We are delighted to be part of the Oxford Chamber Music Festival this year. This screening will be presented by director Daniel Kutschinski followed by a Q&A.