2018, UK, 86’, Dir. Michal Sulima, English, Urdu, Ladakh / Turkish subtitles
Facing his future in retirement, “sitting in deck chairs and eating lemon drizzle cake”, 65 year-old piano tuner Desmond O’Keeffe decides instead to take on the most challenging and perilous delivery of his four decade long career: transporting a 100 year-old Broadwood and Sons upright piano from bustling London to the remote heart of the Indian Himalayas.
Setting off from his Aladdin’s Cave-like workshop in the quaint Camden Town district, and enlisting the help of two young and eager apprentices, Desmond’s ambitious destination is a primary school in Lingshed, Zanskar. At 14,000 feet above sea level it is one of the most isolated settlements in the world.
Aided by a team of local Sherpas and a motley crew of yaks and ponies, the trio’s various convictions are tested as they cross sheer mountain passes of breathtaking beauty, coming in direct contact with a different way of living – a world on a brink of change, filled with equal measure serenity and hardship.
If successful, the expedition will be the highest piano delivery in history, but more importantly, it could become the ultimate gesture of music’s universal power: bridging cultures, inspiring strength and bringing joy.
Features an original music score by Werner Herzog collaborator, Ernst Reijseger (‘Cave of Forgotten Dreams’)
Desmond O’Keeffe (1949-2018) – piano tuner, song writer and star of Michał Sulima’s critically acclaimed PIANO TO ZANSKAR – has sadly passed away. He will be fondly remembered as one of life’s rare gems.