“The strongest moments of this film are those in which the fragility of Arvo Pärt’s music is conveyed through the listener Arvo Pärt. And so does its expressive power. Once there was a dog in one of his concerts, the choir conductor Raul Boesten recalls an anecdote of the composer. At the climax of the music, the dog began to howl ecstatically. He, Pärt said about himself – he was like this dog.” – Tobias Stosiek in Bayerischer Rundfunk Klassik 

“As an introduction to Pärt’s work, this works likes a dream. As an introduction to Pärt himself, it works less well, but this is partly because he seems to have absolutely no interest in having a media profile. Let the man to himself, and give him the time and space to do the things that he enjoys. Pärt is still alive and is, apparently the most performed living composer. And yet, he seems to have escaped too much undue media attention. Fair play to him for this. And in this sense, I think that this film shows the required respect that recognises a great artist, but doesn’t intrude more than it has to.” – CinePhil

“It is a music documentary that is dedicated to the music and gives it the most space. Musicians, conductors and orchestra directors have their say, but more than what they say, we see how they work it out for themselves. That is why there are not only concert recordings, but also concert rehearsals. It takes the “Pärt feeling” to be able to play his music. Hegeman makes it clear, the music has a lasting effect.” – Cinearte

“Wonderful film.” – Bernhard Hartmann in General-Einzeiger Bonn

“Watching Pärt is already an experience. You only need a good sound system in the cinema to feel for the insights gained from this illuminating, sympathetic film portrait.” – Uwe Mies in Kölner Stadt-Einzeiger

“What these 75 minutes of film convey is the incredible sensitivity of this great recluse. The camera captures his subtle humor as well as his energy, especially during rehearsals. And then you are with Jirí Kylian: the world needs this escapist and introspectionist more than ever.” – Jens Voskamp in Nürnberger Nachrichten

“In the lovely documentary “That Pärt Feeling: The Universe of Arvo Pärt,” producer-director Paul Hegeman highlights the music of renowned Estonian composer Arvo Pärt while attempting to unveil the mystery around the purportedly reclusive writer of such famed works as “Tabula Rasa,” “Fratres,” “Trivium” and “Für Alina,” all stirringly performed here […] Listening to the film’s gorgeous renderings will make you a believer.” – Gary Goldstein in Los Angeles Times

“A conventional documentary would be insufficient for the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, a renowned genius whose reticent nature belies his incandescent compositions. Dutch producer-director Paul Hegeman finds the 84-year-old artist at the height of his craft. Pärt’s musical storytelling has been described as minimalist, neoclassical, spiritual, and ethereal, and Hegeman effectively allows it to speak for itself. Rather than ticking the boxes of Pärt’s biography or talking to him at length about his process, Hegeman gives his audience plenty of opportunities to experience the feeling referenced in the doc’s title, through a wash of stirring communion that’s mainly conveyed in the film through Pärt’s rehearsals with the Cello Octet Amsterdam and performances in glittering concert halls around the world.” – Leah Pickett in Chicago Reader

“Avant-garde.” – Alonso Duralde in The Wrap

“Arvo Pärt, arguably one of the most celebrated and performed composers alive, is considered something of a recluse […] However, Paul Hegeman’s documentary paints a totally different portrait, revealing an artist who combines sensitivity with jocular humor, humility and energy.” – Jason Wood in The Wire

What differentiates That Pärt Feeling: The Universe of Arvo Pärt from other such documentaries and biopics is the opportunity to watch a composer engage intimately not only with an orchestra’s conductor, but also individual musicians. Likewise, Hegeman’s camera observes his rapturous demeanor as his music is being played in rehearsal. Because of his unkempt beard and hair, Pärt sometimes comes off as a mad genius or nutty professor, with his head in the clouds and body on the ground. At other times, the 84-year-old composer seems perfectly normal. There’s no single, simple way to express passion. It’s easier to detect on the faces of the musicians and conductors Hegeman interviews, including classical musicians Tõnu Kaljuste, Candida Thompson and Daniel Reuss; choreographer Jirí Kylián; filmmakers Alain Gomis; and  musician Kara-Lis Coverdale. I didn’t expect to enjoy That Pärt Feeling: The Universe of Arvo Pärt as much as I did, let alone be emotionally stirred by the music.” – Gary Dretzka in Movie City News

“This film by Dutchman Paul Hegeman offers a distinctive look at the influence of Arvo Pärt’s music, seeking to understand the wonder of Pärt through the eyes of professional musicians. Certainly, the composer reveals himself to the viewer from a different angle during an intensive period of rehearsals.” – Arvo Pärt Centre

“That Pärt Feeling: The Universe of Arvo Pärt serves to remind us of what a treasure we have in this wonderful man and his astonishing music that seems to emerge from a place and an era that the rest of us can never find on our own” – Bondo Wyszpolski in Easy Reader

“That Pärt feeling is immediately felt when you listen to the music”- Erik Voermans in Het Parool

“The close-up of the humble genius with a sense of humor is the most beautiful image of the film” – Leo Bankersen in Filmkrant

 

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