Bridging the Gap (2009) (NR)

Action/Adventure 85 December 31, 1969
By Chuck Wilson
In this oddly intense nonfiction film, Austrian writer-director Curt Faudon appears simply to be documenting the travels of one troupe within the 100-member Vienna Boys Choir, who range in age from 10 to 14. We meet twin brothers from Singapore, who posted an audition tape online, and watch a sweetly nervous boy from Hong Kong audition right after the choir performs locally. All three are sent to Vienna, where they appear to have no trouble mastering a daunting range of classical songs. There are no bad days for the three boys or their fellow "choristers;" no stage fright, no homesickness, no rabble-rousing. Everywhere they travel, the choir sings with the locals, from the indigenous Maori of New Zealand to a group of schoolchildren on a street corner in India. The singing is magnificent, the photography (by Stephan Mussil) absolute perfection, yet every impromptu song, and every word the kids utter in their on-camera interviews, feels staged and scripted. Promotional films being passed off as documentary is becoming a trend, but Faudon and co-writer Tina Breckwoldt up the ante by offering a God-centric, bromide-filled voiceover so overbearing that it ultimately drowns out the angelic voices the movie means to celebrate. Bridging the Gap is gorgeous and weird.
Katja Draaijer, Corinne van Egeraat