The Harp

Patty Osborne

At the 2005 Vancouver International Film Festival I watched The Harp, a short film that is written and produced by John Bolton, who used to share a music stand with my daughter in the local youth orchestra. John gave up playing the viola years ago, but his love of classical music grew into this film which features the Borealis String Quartet playing a movement from Beethoven’s String Quartet in E-flat major Op. 74, also known as the “Harp” although no harps are present: Harp refers to the pizzicato playing throughout the piece and we learn this from a character in the movie who explains it to a Britney Spears lookalike in the audience of the Borealis concert. As the music builds to a climax, so do several encounters between an usher and some obnoxious audience members: a woman who noisily opens a bag of potato chips and munches on them, a teenager who listens to his discman instead of the concert and a man who tries to videotape the performance. The Harp features close-ups of the musicians’ dancing fingers and other body parts and even though the film is only twenty minutes long, there’s time for a love interest. A concise and funny film with a beautiful musical backdrop.

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