My pals Athol and BJ recommended a movie the other day–a film I’d never heard of. It stars Ed Harris, who I’ve always liked, and it was about Beethoven, who I’ve always adored. Didn’t know much about him as a person (except that he went deaf), so I thought I’d give the movie a try.
What a delightful surprise! The movie is about a young girl who is hired to literally copy his music down, and there are some scenes that are SO analogous to writing/editing that I was enraptured. I don’t want to spoil it for you, but anyone who loves any sort of artistic creation would find much to relate to in this film.
I even used one scene to answer an “ask the author” question for the Charis blog. The question was “what does a good editor do?” and here’s my answer:
I recently watched “Copying Beethoven,” a delightful film about a young woman who wrote out Beethoven’s music after he had gone deaf. On the night of the premier of his ninth symphony (one of his most famous), he was worried about being able to keep the beat and keep the orchestra together. This young girl, Anna Holz, volunteered to keep the beat for him. So they set her in a little alcove, and she stood hidden among the orchestra. She knew the music so well she was able to “conduct” Beethoven, who conducted the orchestra and the chorale.
And that’s what a good editor does. He takes my “music” and helps me overcome my weaknesses so that the audience will hear my song the way it was meant to be heard. A good editor knows my music, but it content to remain hidden in the orchestra in order that the song might shine.
If you’re into car chases and semiautomatic weapons, this may not be the flick for you. But if you’re into art, writing, or music, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.
And, on another note, as I write this, I have just finished watching “The Last Sin Eater.” (Excuse me while I reach for another tissue.) Simply put–I loved it. Great concept, great film, great story. I loved the novel when I first read it years ago, and I loved this movie.
My only quibble–and boy, it’s minor–is that I kept marveling at the beauty of the birch trees and thinking, “They don’t grow in Appalachia . . .” and then I saw that it was filmed entirely in Utah. 🙂 And was that Louise Fletcher in there? Sure looked like Nurse Ratched. (Yes, it was!)
P.S. PW published an interview with Athol Dickson (pal), Tracey Bateman (gal pal), and yours truly. You can read it at