“Orchestra of Exiles” ambitiously recounts the remarkable saga of one man’s drive to create a supreme symphony orchestra in 1937 Palestine, composed of Jewish refugees from Hitler-threatened Europe. Bronislaw Huberman, considered by many the greatest violinist of his day, put aside all personal glory, using his fame to simultaneously preserve Jewish cultural traditions and rescue as many as possible from the Nazi scourge. Unfortunately, the lion’s share of Josh Aronson’s film consists of pantomimic, less-than-mesmerizing reconstructions of events narrated in voiceover. Inspirational docu will nevertheless delight target auds upon its Oct. 26 release.This heroic bio-docu celebrating Huberman’s achievements begins with his renown as a child prodigy; violin virtuosos Itzhak Perlman, Zubin Meta and Pinchas Zuckerman energetically rhapsodize over Huberman’s subsequent illustrious career. But the worsening situation in 1930s Germany and Huberman’s wildly enthusiastic welcome in Palestine led him to subordinate his own talent and defiantly assemble an autonomous Jewish symphony orchestra, even snagging the passionately anti-Nazi maestro of maestros, Arturo Toscanini, to conduct the initial concerts. But despite lively commentaries by a pantheon of master musicians and magnificently performed classical pieces, “Exiles” only distantly echoes Huberman’s visionary adventure.
A First Run Features (in U.S.) release of an Aronson Films production. Produced by Josh Aronson. Executive producers, Michael Marks, Carole Marks, Victor Elmaleh, Sono Elmaleh, Anne Mai, Vincent Mai, Dorit Straus. Co-producers, Avraham Pirchi, Chilik Michaeli, Tami Leon. Directed, written by Josh Aronson.
Camera (color/B&W, HD), Ammon Zalait, Nitay Netzer, Daniel Kedem; editor, Nancy Kennedy; music, Wlad Marhulets; music supervisors, Susan Jacobs, Jackie Mulhearn; production designer, Stefanie Probst. Reviewed on DVD, New York, Oct. 20, 2012. (In Hamptons Film Festival.) Running time: 85 MIN. Narrator: Tim Elliot.
Thomas Kornmann, Itzhak Perlman, Zubin Mehta, Pinchas Zuckerman, Joshua Bell. (English, German dialogue)