If music is the international language, one can assume that the making of music provides powerful opportunities to bridge barriers and forge connections. But what would happen when challenging obstacles are added to that music-making process? Would that derail its success or make it more fruitful? “That Orchestra With the Broken Instruments,” a documentary showing at Phantom Theater in Warren, as part of the Stowe Jewish Film Festival, tries to answer those questions.



The film traces the creative process, from concept to performance, of music composed for, and played entirely on, broken instruments. Adding to the challenge are 100 orchestra members as varied as piccolos and tubas. Some are professional musicians and some are amateurs. Some are young and some are old. Many speak different languages. And they live in one of the most discordant cities on earth, Jerusalem, where religious, ethnic, and cultural values and beliefs are often raw and at odds.

The film follows the creative process: from collecting the instruments, to workshops, to the efforts of the three composers writing the score, to four days of intensive rehearsals, and finally to the culminating one-time-only concert.

But can synchronization and accord be created with broken strings and rusting valves within a fractured echo chamber? Indeed, hidden among the cracks, “That Orchestra With the Broken Instruments” provides a lyrical and engaging take on the members of the orchestra, on what is broken and what is whole, and on the determined attempt, if only for a moment, to create harmony in a fractured city.

“That Orchestra With the Broken Instruments” will be shown on Wednesday, August 16, at 7 p.m. The film is in Hebrew, Arabic, and English, with English subtitles. A question and answer session with the film’s director will take place immediately following. Additionally, an array of broken instruments will be on display at the showing. Tickets are available at: https://www.jcogs.org/event/stowe-jewish-film-festival-orchestra-of-broken-instruments1.html