What You Need To Know:
(AC, L, N) Implied Anti-Communist elements; 3 obscenities; and, close shot of a female nude in a painting (upper body).
The Steven M. Martin documentary THEREMIN: AN ELECTRONIC ODYSSEY attempts to chronicle the history of the first electronic instrument, named the “theremin” after its inventor Leon Theremin. While the documentary contains few objectionable elements, the lack of a narrative, a definitive point of view and true insight into the man Theremin should make this documentary a visit tedious for anyone but diehard aficionados of obsolete electronic musical instruments.
The few poignant moments are brought about by character, not a multiplicity of words or events. When Clara Rockmore, a virtuoso performer of the theremin and longtime friend of Leon Theremin begins to play the instrument in a present-day concert, we come to realize that the theremin is more than a musical toy that can be employed for making eerie sounds in sci-fi movies. It can be an instrument of exquisite artistic expression. Likewise, we see brief glimpses into the character of the man who invented this precursor of our modern electronic synthesizers and are left wanting to know more about him. The 80-minutes running time would not seem too long, one suspects, had the producers chosen to mine what lies hidden beneath the surface of the man Leon Theremin.