‘Hear­ing Is Be­liev­ing’ and other films.

Los Angeles Times - - CALENDAR -

Other than the tin­kling of pi­ano keys, the sound that oc­curs most in “Hear­ing Is Be­liev­ing” is the gig­gle of its sub­ject, Rachel Flow­ers. The doc­u­men­tary fol­lows the mu­si­cian over the course of two years, and the only el­e­ment that’s more vis­i­ble than her mu­si­cal ge­nius is her joy.

Be­cause of com­pli­ca­tions with her pre­ma­ture birth, Rachel lost her sight as a baby. How­ever, her mother, Jeanie, soon dis­cov­ered her blind daugh­ter’s vir­tu­osic mu­si­cal abil­ity on the pi­ano and her per­fect pitch. Rachel could play en­tire pieces by ear from a young age, and her skill and love for mu­sic grew quickly.

She pro­gressed be­yond the pi­ano, demon­strat­ing a fa­cil­ity with other in­stru­ments, mul­ti­ple styles and com­po­si­tion. She ap­pears just as happy play­ing on the dis­play pi­anos at a big-box store for a small group of on­look­ers as she is join­ing Dweezil Zappa on a Brook­lyn stage.

Di­rec­tor Lorenzo DeSte­fano pre­vi­ously made two other mu­sic doc­u­men­taries, and the em­pha­sis here is on Rachel’s gift for play­ing and com­pos­ing rather than the specifics of her life. “Hear­ing Is Be­liev­ing” could have of­fered more in­sight into Rachel’s ex­pe­ri­ence, but in­stead it in­vests in the ac­tion of its ti­tle, in­clud­ing long stretches of wit­ness­ing Rachel at the pi­ano and on var­i­ous other in­stru­ments. Some view­ers may grow weary dur­ing these lengthy seg­ments, but it’s hard not to won­der at the jaw-drop­ping tal­ent on dis­play. — Kimber My­ers “Hear­ing Is Be­liev­ing.” Not rated. Run­ning time: 1 hour, 44 min­utes. Play­ing: Laemmle Mu­sic Hall, Bev­erly Hills.


PER­FOR­MANCE artist Ma­rina Abramovic doc­u­ments her voy­age across Brazil in “The Space in Be­tween.”

Marie Gregorio-Oviedo Fore­sight Re­leas­ing

BLIND MU­SI­CIAN Rachel Flow­ers dis­plays her tal­ent in “Hear­ing Is Be­liev­ing.”

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