Czech Republic, France, Argentina, Austria 2019
directed by: Artemio Benki
A documentary that tells an equally exciting story about the colorful world and the music that fills and transforms it.
A poignant drama about a hero torn between his extraordinary talent and the dark abyss of mental illness. Discreet, simply recorded scenes of a psychiatric institution and urban spaces without splendor, scenes that are always on the verge of drama, reveal an unusual, charismatic hero in a constant struggle for dignity and preservation of his precious ability to express himself artistically. His contacts with other patients of the psychiatric clinic, or admirers of his virtuoso playing of the piano, reveal complex layers of a person in states of agitation or rare moments of calm. From restraint to victory and vice versa, we follow a story told without prejudice and with the deepest empathy that expands our understanding of the human psyche and condition.
Collisions of existential anguish with music that ennobles and liberates.
Artemio Benki was born on 21st April 1966 in Paris. He started to work in media by the age of 13 as freelance radio journalist, at age 18 he joined L’Autre Journal as a journalist collaborating with Marguerite Duras and Herve Guibert.
Benki arrived in Prague for the first time in 1989 to make a short documentary about Roma refugees. Since 1992 he lived and worked in Prague. He founded a production company Sirena Film two years later, and in 2000, also co-founded a distribution company Artcam Films.
As a producer, Benki co-worked on several films shot in the Czech Republic - such as A Royal Affair (2012), Marguerite (2015), Personal Shopper (2016), The Dancer (2016) or The Hummorist (2019).
As a director, French-born author shot mostly short films. The greatest success Artemio Benki achieved with his documentary debut Solo (2019). A story about a young Argentinian mentally ill piano virtuoso premiered in Cannes' ACID.