In this oddly intense nonfiction film, Austrian writer-director Curt Faudon appears simply to be documenting the travels of one troupe within the 100 members of the 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.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 23, 2013