My last documentary was Michael Moore's Fahrenheir 9/11... so it's been quite a while.
音樂人生 KJ (Music Life KJ) is a documentary about a young and talented pianist named KJ and his life when he was 11 (2002) and 17 (2007/8). The documentary mixes between the two periods, dissecting this young man's life into three parts: his talent, his views on music, and his views on life. The first words in the documentary from KJ: I want to be a human being.
Although this would be a major disservice to KJ, let me try to put his life (according to the documentary) in a nutshell: he is a perfectionist in all aspects in life, and he expects that he can achieve perfection in life through music.
Unfortunately, life certainly isn't perfect. And the young man is torn between imperfections and his attempts to correct them. The seeds were planted early, as you see the 12 year old KJ get really frustrated with a professional orchestra in the Czech Republic. He yells at his older brother for not being able to play the music correctly. His siblings all point to KJ's learning music as the start of his pursue for perfection. Then you see the 17/18 year old version trying to train a bunch of young musicians to play perfect orchestra music... and he harshly criticizes some of them for hitting the wrong note, or the wrong time, or the wrong note at the wrong time. And he gets really frustrated when the music isn't perfect. Then of course, when the kids get it right, like so many perfectionists, he becomes the happiest person alive and forgives all the problems before.
I've told you many times his attitude towards music - perfection - and he tries to place this attitude to everybody around him. For example, at a competition, he insists on making the perfect music and therefore going overtime for 2 minutes. He is aloof and he doesn't celebrate with his fellow musicians when they win. He harshly criticizes those who play music because they want to win music competitions. (Josekin's note: it's the right attitude, but too simplistic... competition is a good motivation for kids - not every teenager can just motivate themselves to make good music because of their love for music) His only focus is to play good music. And I salute that.
Somewhere along the lines, KJ has also equated music with life. I must first say that KJ is extremely mature for his age, even at 11 (more on this later). He believes perfect music and influence people into perfect lives (My interpretation based on a 1.5 hour documentary). For example, at 17, he is deeply deeply troubled by his parent's divorce. You can see the agony on his face when asked about this topic (very very well done section for a documentary).
As I said before, KJ is clearly a very mature person... at 11, he's put quite a bit of thought on why human beings exists, briefly concluding that it might be better to die young after listening to perfect music: therefore achieving a perfect life... and dying at a high point in life is better than all subsequent points. He's ELEVEN!
Anyway, I guess you see where I'm coming from (if you've read this far... haha). Some people are ahead of their age, seek meaning and perfection in life, and can find it in a very small part of life, be it music, video games, studies, etc. They become very good at it, achieving "perfection"... but fail to leverage it into other parts of life. It's tough cus they are all so smart and talented. But, amen, that is life.
Highly recommended. I think the director used some very effective editing to show us the life of KJ. I believe what I saw and I feel that much closer to KJ. I wish I can meet him. I wish I can tell him about Alan. I wish he would study something other than music - philosophy perhaps, even if that would seriously challenge his way of life. I think if he can experience life without music for a little bit, he can see other perfections.