Zakir And His Friends

Lutz Leonhardt

 Switzerland / Germany 1997.

The film is about rhythm. Rhythm played by professional percussionists in India, Burkina Faso, Japan and other places around the world. Rhythm performed by kids making music by clapping their hands on their cheeks. Rhythmic sounds coming out of everyday work, rhythmic sounds from vehicles like trains and cars.

The protagonist is Zakir Hussain, an Indian musician. His father is a great tabla player, and Zakir has become a very talented tabla player himself, travelling worldwide with his music. The film follows him to concerts, practising, and teaching. He appears as a drifting being living in a world beyond the real, a world of music. Wherever he is, whatever he does, he is creating rhythm. When driving he beats the rhythm on the wheel. When cutting pumpkins for Halloween, he has to clap a rhythm on the pumpkin. Close-up shots of his face when he is playing show a person deeply absorbed by the music.

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