Film Info: Martins Passion, Die

Martins' Passion (Martins Passion, Die)

Martins' Passion
João Carlos Martins, Irene Langemann

Any story-teller would be hard-pressed to invent a biography as incredible as the life of Brazil's celebrated star pianist, João Carlos Martins. Success and personal tragedies, traumatic injuries and triumphant comebacks mark his fate. In the early sixties, this temperamental Brazilian, who plays soccer as passionately as he plays the piano, is celebrated as the greatest interpreter of the music of Bach next to Glenn Gould. But a disastrous injury throws his life off balance. One escapade follows the other. In the late nineties, Martins' career seems finally over, when he has to undergo surgery to sever the nerves of his right hand. The one-armed pianist decides to attempt a comeback with his left hand only. With fanatic fervor he makes his left hand work for two. The date for a concert with a renowned orchestra is already set - and yet again, the inconceivable happens. Martins is devastated. His dream to create something great on the piano seems finally buried.

The film accompanies João Carlos Martins during his darkest hours, traces the early triumphs and dramatic events of his life. Unique film sequences from his childhood and early years breathe life into this scintillating universe. Martins' encounters with his friends, the soccer genius Pelé and the legendary jazz pianist Dave Brubeck, provide moments of bliss. And in the end, once again a small miracle occurs.

A film about a man, who never gives up and remains true to his passion – music.


Irene Langemann was born in the Omsk region of the Soviet Union in 1959. She studied Acting and Germanics at the Tcepkin Theater Academy in Moscow. From 1980-1990, she worked as an actress, director and theater writer in Moscow. In 1983, she began moderating and directing for Russian television. In 1986, she became a director and scene editor at the Nasch Theater in Moscow. She moved to Germany in 1990 and was an editor at Deutsche Welle TV in Cologne until 1997. Since 1997, she has been working as a freelance filmmaker. A selection of her films includes: Nirgendwo verwurzelt (1993), Die Goetter bitte ich um eine Aenderung (1994), Imperium der Traeume (1996), Auf Wiedersehen in Berlin (1997), Zwischen hier und dort (1997), Das Ende einer Odyssee (1998), Klasse(n) Klaenge (1999), Fit fuer Leben und Arbeit (2000), Russlands Wunderkinder (1998-2000), Lale Andersen: The Voice of Lili Marleen (2001), Martins\' Passion (Die Martins Passion, 2003), Ices and Oranges (2004), Vodka, Art, and Fashion (2004), Goldap - In Polish Siberia (2005), and Rubljovka (2007).
Genre Music, Biopic
Category Documentary
Year of Production 2003
Director Irene Langemann
Screenplay Irene Langemann
Cinematography Dieter Stürmer
Kawe Vakil
Producers Wolfgang Bergmann, Alexander Wieser
Production Company Lichtfilm/Cologne, in co-production with Synchro Film & Video/Vienna, ARTE, WDR
Length 96 min
Original Version
 Portuguese/English
Subtitled Versions English, French, German, Portuguese
Sound Technology Dolby SR
Festivals FIPA Biarritz 2004, Philadelphia 2004, Golden Prague 2004, Banff 2004, Munich Documentary Festival 2004, Sao Paulo 2004, Pocono Mountains Film Festival 2004, Message to Man St. Petersburg 2004
Awards FIPA d'Or 2004, Rockie Award 2004, Centaur Best Documentary St. Petersburg, Best Documentary 2004 Pocono Mountains
With backing from Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, MEDIA Plus
German Distributor Zephir Filmverleih/Cologne

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