“Pianissimo,” short film about music and mental health

Posted on: January 6, 2020

“A young cellist moves from Latvia to London to chase her dreams of studying at a world-class conservatoire—but it comes at a cost,” writes Rosie Pentreath in Thursday’s (1/2) Classic FM (U.K.). “Cellist Margarita Balanas has [created] a powerful short film exploring music, missed loved ones and struggles with mental health….Featuring Balanas’ performances of music by Latvian composer Pēteris Vasks, the 11-minute short—called Pianissimo—tackles ambition, longing and loneliness as a young cellist reflects on home from a world away…. Balanas’ film focuses on how mental health issues can be hidden behind smiles, and tackles themes of leaving home for distant shores…. During her studies at the fictional Royal Conservatoire of Music in London, the male protagonist she leaves behind in Latvia struggles with mental health issues that ultimately claim his life…. Pianissimo’s plot is fictional, but nonetheless mirrors Balanas’s own experiences. ‘I left my hometown when I was 15 years old to study in London. I felt out of place not knowing the language nor the place I would call “home” for the next 11 years,’ she [says]. ‘We have all felt broken or hurt at some point—whether it’s because of distance, rejection or continually chasing dreams.’ ”