Shine and the Rach 3
Shine profiles the formative years of the acclaimed pianist David Helfgott – a child musical prodigy who struggled with mental health.
As with other Australian productions such as The Piano (1993 Jane Campion), the instrument in this film is a central narrative feature – conveying the inner world of David, his psychosis and his normalcy. Much of the character development occurs through the film’s introduction of different pieces of classical music, which coincide with the introductions of the new stages of David’s life.
In this clip, we encounter the Sergei Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3, widely considered as one of the most demanding and complicated piano pieces ever written and which functions as a leitmotiv for the genius in Helfgott’s playing – the piece is his most intimate friend. The sequence is also a prime example of the way that Scott Hicks (with editor Pip Karmel) is able to build excitement and dramatic tension through the musical sections of the film. The music – which rises in volume and intensity – plays over a montage of images which at times synchronises with imagery of Helfgott playing the instrument, but also helps to achieve a sense of time passing. These sorts of sequences also set up key filmic elements such as helping the audience to feel the height of the mountain he’s trying to climb when he later arrives at the Royal College of Music.