2003 Documentary Germany Featuring the Berlin Philharmonic

Director: Thomas Grube and Enrique Sànchez Lansch
Audio: Pascal Capitolin
Format: STEREO
Running Time: 100 min
Production: Boomtown Media Berlin


Berlin, January 2003. Amazing things are happening in the Arena down at Berlin’s industrial harbor. 250 Berlin children and teenagers of 25 different nationalities are dancing to Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps, choreographed by Royston Maldoom and accompanied by the Berliner Philharmoniker: This is the orchestra’s first large scale educational project with its chief conductor Sir Simon Rattle.

RHYTHM IS IT! accompanies three teenage protagonists during the three-month rehearsals. Marie, who is still desperately trying to pass her secondary school leaving exams; Olayinka, who has recently arrived in Germany as a war-orphan from Nigeria and Martin, who is battling to overcome his inhibitions. Royston Maldoom and his team require perseverance and love to teach the first dancing steps to the children and teenagers; for most of them it is their first encounter with classical music. During the rehearsals they all experience ups and downs, insecurity, self-confidence, doubts and excitement: An emotional journey into new, unforeseen worlds and to hidden facets of their personalities.

RHYTHM IS IT! is also a unique, intoxicating insight into the work of the orchestra during an historic moment. The first season with Sir Simon Rattle at the helm marks the dawn of a new era in which the Berliner Philharmoniker hopes to confidently take its work to places outside its normal environment of the concert-hall.

The directors Thomas Grube and Enrique Sánchez Lansch manage to casually portray the enthralling stories of Sir Simon Rattle and Royston Maldoom, who has been realizing dancing projects in problem areas for 30 years. And suddenly the key points of these artists’ biographies lead to the gymnasiums and rehearsal rooms of Berlin in which the young dancers are working passionately and contradictorily on Le Sacre du Printemps.

RHYTHM IS IT! is a sensitive and moving testimony to the power of dance and the raw talent of young people. A beautiful declaration of love to the dancing teenagers and their mentors, a movie about the fascination of music, a cinematic experience full of passion, respect and zest for life.

'Music is not a luxury, but a need, like the air we breathe and the water we drink!' Sir Simon Rattle