by Leandro Koch and Paloma Schachmann
The Klezmer Project is not just a documentary about today’s most important klezmer musicians. Nor is this interesting work by Leandro Koch and Paloma Schachmann simply a love story between two young people who gradually discover that they have many more interests in common than might initially seem. What we have before us is a hybrid, multifaceted and extremely vibrant and colourful film. At the Berlinale 2023.
Discovering traditions of the past
“For a man, death is a natural event, for culture not. Culture has to be handed down from generation to generation. When a man dies, his journey naturally ends; when culture dies, it is only because it has been murdered”. The feature film The Klezmer Project (original title: Adentro mio estoy bailando), directed by young filmmakers Leandro Koch and Paloma Schachmann and presented in its world premiere at the Berlinale 2023, within the Encounters section, is therefore based on this important and often greatly underestimated concept.
The Klezmer Project, therefore, is a very special feature film. A feature film that skilfully combines reality and fiction, that develops on several space-time levels and that, through the form of the road movie, takes us by the hand into a world that few people nowadays really know. For the occasion, therefore, the two directors also take on the roles of the protagonists. Leandro (Koch), then, is a young filmmaker of Jewish origin who usually makes films at weddings. He is not at all interested in religion and in his own culture, but begins to approach the world of klezmer music after meeting the musician Paloma (Schachmann) at a wedding. In order to be able to spend time with her, he tells her that he is making a documentary about klezmer music. Thus begins a long journey from Argentina to Austria (where Leandro will find someone who can produce his film), to Ukraine, Romania and Moldavia, discovering many new and unexpected realities.
The Klezmer Project, then, is not just a documentary about the most important klezmer musicians of today. Nor is this interesting work by Leandro Koch and Paloma Schachmann simply a love story between two young people who slowly discover that they have many more interests in common than it might initially seem. What we have before us is a hybrid, multifaceted and extremely vibrant and colourful film. A feature film in which art and culture are constantly highlighted and which, in turn, is enriched by the many testimonies, concerts and scenes of weddings and festivities each time shown.
Cinema, meta-cinema and music meet again and again in The Klezmer Project, and together they form a beautiful harmony. Old black-and-white photographs, the stories of a grandmother, but also Satan’s narrative voice (actually, the voice of a woman reading a tale from Jewish tradition that goes hand in hand with the events of the two protagonists) make this feature film by Koch and Schachmann even richer and more layered. The music slowly gets the better of the story within an overall well-balanced narrative structure. Slowly, there seems to be no place for anything else. And while we attend short concerts in small clubs, we immediately feel part of a cheerful and colourful wedding in Moldova, when we see, accompanied by the music, the bride and groom and all the guests walking and dancing through the streets of the village. The Klezmer Project gives us all this, enthralls us from the very first minutes and proves to be, in fact, “the film you don’t expect”. An excellent debut for the two young Argentinean directors.
Original title: Adentro mio estoy bailando
Directed by: Leandro Koch, Paloma Schachmann
Country/year: Austria, Argentina / 2023
Running time: 110’
Genre: drama, romance, musical
Cast: Leandro Koch, Paloma Schachmann, Perla Sneh, Rebeca Yanover, César Lerner
Screenplay: Leandro Koch, Paloma Schachmann
Cinematography: Leandro Koch, Roman Kasseroller
Produced by: Nabis Filmgroup, Nevada Cine