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I am the Violin

Short documentary, 2004, 54 min.

Ida Haendel (1924) was born in Poland and is a master violinist from the generation of Yehudi Menuhin and Isaac Stern. From the moment she picked up her elder sister's violin as a three-year old and, she claims, could play right away, her life has been dominated by this instrument. Director Paul Cohen follows and interviews Haendel, who still performs worldwide. He mixes images of rehearsals and performances with archive footage, old photographs and interviews with people involved, including Haendel's former violin teacher. He films Haendel at home, where she lives alone with her dog. She also speaks about her private life, her unconditional love of her father, her unrequited love for conductor Sergiu Celibidache and about growing older. When her Stradivarius produces a bad tone, she tells the repairman she is afraid the audience will blame it on her high age. `I know people are waiting for flaws.' Casual remarks betray some rancour towards new, inferior violinists that take her place, but all the same she helps find young talents.





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