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Shut Up And Play The Piano

The true story of Chilly Gonzales

Piano virtuoso, serial collaborator and self-declared genius, Jason Beck is a singular figure on the music scene. Fully immersed in his outsized alter ego of Chilly Gonzales, this Canadian cult star blurs the lines between rapper and classical composer, performance artist and punk provocateur.

Poster for Shut Up And Play The Piano, a documentary on Chilly GonzalesShut Up And Play The Piano interweaves contemporary interviews and performance footage with archive video from Beck’s personal collection, plus a handful of artfully fictionalized episodes. There are amusing clips of his early alt-rock band Son, plus some riotous flashbacks to bohemian Berlin in the grungy late 1990s, where Beck relocated with an entourage of fellow Canadian expats, including outlandish porno-punk rapper Peaches. In Berlin, he perfected his Machiavellian stage persona Chilly Gonzales and hosted a press conference declaring himself ‘president’ of the city’s fabled underground music scene.

Swapping Berlin for Paris, Beck embraced his softer side on his 2004 album Solo Piano, which opened doors to a broader range of co-productions and collaborations with star names including Jane Birkin, Charles Aznavour, Jarvis Cocker and Drake, and later won a Grammy for his work with French electro-pop superstars Daft Punk on their smash hit album Random Access Memories.

Shut Up And Play The Piano is never boring, drawing its energy from Beck’s knowing blend of motormouth bombast and flamboyant showmanship. It climaxes with live concert footage of the sweat-drenched star rapping and crowd-surfing to the accompaniment of a full symphony orchestra. A preposterous spectacle, but admirably ambitious and highly entertaining. Life is a comedy-punk cabaret, old chum.

– Stephen Dalton, The Hollywood Reporter


See the movie, enjoy the concert!

Chilly Gonzales will play live at the NAC on October 22. For details, visit www.nac-cna.ca

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