(SIFF) Golden Goblet Competition Entry "The Chapel": A Healing Melody that Evokes Tears, Reuniting Fans in Joyful Post-screening Gathering | 金爵参赛片｜《琴声诉忆》：乐声治愈催人泪下，映后见面让影迷大呼“久违了”
Notably, this was the first post-screening meet-up of an overseas film crew in the main competition section of the Shanghai International Film Festival, marking a long-awaited close encounter between international filmmakers and festival audiences. During the event, many fans eagerly spoke up, and their enthusiasm deeply moved director Dominique Deruddere, who remarked, "The Shanghai audience is amazing!"
The Belgian film "The Chapel" takes the perspective of Jennifer, a 23-year-old young piano player participating in the Queen Elizabeth International Music Competition and living with 12 other finalists. It tells the story of how she copes with childhood trauma while preparing for the competition. "The Chapel" is a psychological film directed by Belgian filmmaker Dominique Deruddere, whose previous film "Everybody's Famous!" was nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. It not only showcases the backstage of a prestigious music competition but also delves into the inner world of a young pianist consumed by personal demons.
"This film is very touching!" From the scenes of the screening, it was evident that the audience was deeply moved by the film. The first female audience member who spoke during the post-screening discussion expressed her love for the film in fluent English, stating, "It's a very good story, and the actress's performance is fantastic!" Some audience members even expressed their admiration for the film's creators and wished "The Chapel" success in the Golden Goblet competition. "I was deeply moved, and my emotions fluctuated along with the film's storyline," said one viewer.
Besides praise and affirmation, some film enthusiasts also attempt to "challenge" directors during discussions. A male audience member raised a question, asking if directors worry about treading the same path when combining music with the protagonist's traumatic memories in many films. Director Dominique Durand responded emphatically, stating that music inherently possesses healing power and is particularly suitable for exploring psychological themes. From his perspective, many films choose to incorporate music as a means of indirectly reflecting the hidden traumas within people's hearts, which is why creators are willing to focus on such stories.
At the end of the meet-and-greet session, the cast and the entire audience took selfies together, and the lead actress, Tack Nicola, also posed for commemorative photos with several film enthusiasts. In response to the enthusiasm from the fans, the three creators spontaneously expressed their fondness for the city of Shanghai, despite it being their first visit. They remarked, "The atmosphere at the venue was fantastic, and the audience in Shanghai was amazing."
The "exclusive experience" that belongs to the film festival sparked enthusiastic discussions among fans, who eagerly anticipated the up-close interaction.
Getting up-close and personal with filmmakers, engaging in face-to-face conversations, is the most anticipated "surprise segment" for many film enthusiasts every June. Ms. Zhang, an audience member, revealed that she had never expected the viewing experience to be so delightful, and the opportunity to express her feelings directly to the creators was truly rare. She said, "Through such a meet-and-greet session, I feel a closer connection to the film."
Ms. Lu, whose entire family are film enthusiasts, attended the screening with her mother that day. As a long-time fan of the film festival, she specifically purchased front-row tickets and even got the creators' autographs. "I particularly enjoy the up-close interaction," Ms. Lu said. Initially, she had no idea there would be a meet-and-greet session, but she believed that any film nominated for the Golden Goblet Award's main competition section must be a great film, and it is rare to see Belgian films outside of film festivals, so she wanted to experience the screening in person.
Ms. Liu, who successfully took a photo with the lead actress Tack Nicola, expressed that the film skillfully combined visuals with the sound of the piano, immersing viewers in the story involuntarily. Her family had scrambled to secure tickets, and she never expected that it would lead to her first-ever experience of participating in a post-screening discussion. She exclaimed, "What a delightful surprise!"
This year's Shanghai International Film Festival arranged many screenings with interactive sessions featuring the creators, many of whom traveled from overseas to Shanghai. The long-awaited reunions and intimate exchanges made both new and old film enthusiasts exclaim, "This is a unique experience that can only be obtained at a film festival."
From "Everyone's Famous" to "Memories in Piano Notes," director Dominique Durand is particularly skilled at incorporating music into visual storytelling. In the case of "Memories in Piano Notes," it can even be described as a "father-son collaboration" as the director's son, pianist Louis Durand, was involved in the creation, infusing his passion for classical music into the film's editing.
During a media meet-and-greet session, when asked about the significance of linking the entire story to the Queen Elizabeth International Music Competition, Dominique Durand explained that for musicians who study piano, this real and internationally renowned competition holds extraordinary meaning. The film places the protagonist and other competitors under the same roof, essentially creating an environment of "psychological warfare" for them. He hoped that the psychological struggles and transformations among these participants would enhance the overall watchability of the story.
Moreover, the music and song selection in "Memories in Piano Notes" carry profound meaning. Dominique Durand revealed that the childhood trauma experienced by the female protagonist made her particularly fearful of the cold. Therefore, from the beginning, he wanted to choose pieces that evoked a sense of "coldness." Soon, the works of Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninoff came into his view. Through repeated comparisons and deliberations, Dominique Durand believed that Rachmaninoff's romantic and visually rich compositions harmonized perfectly with the film's themes.
It is worth mentioning that Tack Nicola, who took on the role of the lead actress for the first time, portrayed the piano-playing scenes of the protagonist in the film with remarkable authenticity, despite having only studied piano for four months. She humbly stated that she is still far from being a professional pianist, and her intensive training day and night was aimed at recreating the posture of a professional piano performer as faithfully as possible. Additionally, the works of Rachmaninoff provided her with significant assistance and inspiration in her performance. Director Dominique Durand's guidance further helped her understand the state of the character and portray the complex emotions of the role. Producer Bart Van Langendonck also revealed that when the director approached him with the story of "Memories in Piano Notes," he was immediately captivated by the idea, and Tack Nicola's performance proved that their choice to cast her as the lead was the right one.
值得一提的是，首次担任女主角的泰克·尼古拉仅学了4个月钢琴就在影片中将女主角弹奏钢琴的场面演绎得惟妙惟肖。她谦虚地表示，自己离专业钢琴家还很远，夜以继日的训练只是希望能尽可能还原出职业钢琴演奏者的体态。同时，拉赫玛尼诺夫的作品给她的表演带来很大的帮助和启发，导演杜明历·狄鲁第对她的表演指导，更进一步帮助她理解主人公的状态，刻画出人物复杂的心境。制片人Bart Van Langendonck也透露，当初导演带着《琴声诉忆》的故事找到自己，他立刻就被这个想法打动了，而泰克·尼古拉的表现也证明，当初选择她出演主角的选择没有错。