Piano to Zanskar (2018): A Step Up From Chopsticks
Scaling the dangerous octaves of the Himalayas with an antique instrument in tow, Sulima’s Piano to Zanskar (2018) documents the most high-altitude musical delivery in world history. Orchestrated by established London tuner Desmond Gentle, the film follows the devil-may-care 65-year-old and his young companions as they improvise a grueling journey to the community of Lingshed – said to be the most remote settlement on the globe. With help from local volunteers, they chart the ups and downs of an iconic mountain range; summoning up depths of creativity and human perseverance along the way.
Unbelievably, the film offers an ending which is not only happy but downright serendipitous; as the passionate efforts of everyone involved seem to align in near-perfect harmony. On top of this, it captures a profound exchange between cultures that brings metropolis and isolation together with music. While historical feature film The Piano (1993) depicts an instrument destined for a white aristocrat being trundled through native New Zealand undergrowth, Piano to Zanskar (2018) shows people of material privilege hand-delivering a prized object to a village that places no value on monetary worth. As a result, the gesture celebrates the commonalities of the human race – with music serving a vital accompaniment to that chord.