They Came to Play has its local premiere at CMA

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A documentary about an annual pian competition, They Came to Play makes its local premiere tonight at 7 at the Cleveland Museum of Art Lecture Hall. It screens again at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 28. Here is our review of the film.

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They Came to Play (U.S., 2008) The Van Cliburn International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amatuers is an annual competition that lures novice players from around the world. As this documentary makes clear, it solicits a motley group of characters whose back stories make for more interesting footage than their actual performances (which, thankfully, we don’t see in their entirety). We get to meet a few of the participants, including an ophthalmologist from Alabama, an AIDS patient living on disability, a divorcee from Paris who has spent her retirement practicing piano and a former cocaine addict, all of whom talk about how much the competition means to them. While the competition itself isn’t very dramatic, the performers life stories are. *** (Niesel)

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