An inside look at Jazz’s most unlikely giant – Michel Petrucciani

Get Haaretz on iPhone Get Haaretz on Android The fragile bones he was born with never broke Michel Petrucciani’s spirit. Though he was less than a meter tall, he climbed to great heights thanks to his piano playing – much higher than anyone could have imagined when he was a child. A documentary about him will be shown at the Tel Aviv Museum as part of the Epos International Art Film Festival.

Michael Radford, who has directed high-profile films such as “Il Postino” – directed the documentary, which came out in 2011 and premiered at Cannes. Radford admits that he was hardly familiar with Petrucciani’s work and hadn’t directed a documentary for around 25 years. But for him every film is a journey that culminates in a sense of wonder.

Petrucciani, who wanted to live life to the fullest, suffered from osteogenesis imperfecta, also known as brittle bone disease, which confined him to a wheelchair or crutches. He was born in Orange in southern France to a French-Italian family. The doctors didn’t believe he would live beyond 20.

He had other plans. Jazz and other music genres conquered his heart when he was very young. In the film, he describes how he saw Duke Ellington perform and was awestruck.

“It was kind of – wow! I wanted a piano to play like he did,” he says, wearing dark glasses and the impish smile of someone who knows he’ll get everything he asks for thanks to his enormous willpower.

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