‘Moonlight Sonata: Deafness in Three Movements’ Shares a Family’s Experience

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Courtesy of HBO

A deeply personal and moving intergenerational story of a close-knit family’s experience with deafness, HBO’s Moonlight Sonata: Deafness in Three Movements explores the meaning of loss through the stories of a deaf boy growing up, a deaf man growing old, and perhaps the world’s most famous deaf person, Ludwig van Beethoven, who crafted a sonata that would resonate across time and cultures.

Brodsky’s son Jonas began going deaf as an infant, later undergoing surgery for cochlear implants as a toddler and finally rediscovering a world of hearing — and music. Now 11-years-old, Jonas sets out on a musical journey to tackle the first movement of Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata,” an anguished composition Beethoven wrote when he himself began going deaf.

Courtesy of HBO

The film intimately highlights the intergenerational and complex relationship between Jonas and his grandparents. As Paul and Sally reflect on their own experiences with deafness, they help Jonas better understand loss and the difficulties of straddling two distinct worlds – one with sound and another with silence.

Courtesy of HBO

Along the way, they explore the gulf of time and technology that lies between them, often having a hard time relating to their grandson whose experience with deafness has been so different from their own.

Moonlight Sonata: Deafness in Three Movements, Premiere, Wednesday, December 11, 9/8c, HBO