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Shining through the darkness
[Time Out. Edition]
Jerusalem Post - Jerusalem
Author: Pearl Sheffy Geffen
Date: Feb 21, 1997
Start Page: 02
Section: Arts
Abstract (Document Summary)

In Shine, based on a true story, [Armin Mueller-Stahl] portrays the father (see related story in this week's Magazine) of Australian pianist David Helfgott, who breaks down under his bitter father's relentless pressure (and whose real-life career has blossomed again because of the film's success.) But though his tyranny almost destroys his son, Mueller-Stahl's artistry makes one cry for Peter in the end, and that pleases the actor. "It was important that one cared about the father. He thought he was doing good, but too much love can destroy."

Joan Plowright plays Morris's wife, the third time she has been spouse to Mueller-Stahl, after Avalon and Pyromaniac's Love Story. Mueller-Stahl and the rest of the cast and crew worked for well below their usual rates, because, Paragon producer Paul Brown told me, "Armin says he makes films that touch him. Stars get many scripts, but only a few come along that move people."

Conversation with the Beast is about an old man who claims he is [Hitler]. A Jewish-American historian comes to Berlin to investigate the claim. In the course of a 10-day conversation, Hitler is, by turn, horrifying, mesmerizing and charming, because, Mueller-Stahl says, "The danger with beasts is that they're charming. We like to think of Hitler as a devil, but he was able to convince people that he could change the world."

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