10 posts categorized "Historic Drama"

August 14, 2011

MOZART'S SISTER

Colesmithey.comFrance's best-kept secret, writer/director René Féret, embellishes the journey of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's older sister Nannerl during their family's early efforts to impress the royal courts of Europe during the 18th century.

The filmmaker's own daughter Marie Féret imbues her musically gifted character with an unmistakable erotic grace. With intricate attention to detail Féret lays out the milieu of the noble class in which the Mozart family intrudes like a band of remarkably disciplined gypsies. There is nothing glamorous about the family's touring through the bitter cold of snow-covered landscapes. Patriarch Leopold (Marc Barbe) has trained his 15-year-old daughter Nannerl to be a virtuoso violinist, harpsichordist, and singer.

Mozart's Sister' From René Féret - Review - The New York Times

Scenes of effortless musical performances by Nannerl and Wolfgang (David Moreau) are utterly convincing. Aware of the culturally imposed limitations for women, the ambitious father turns his attention to train his prodigious ten-year-old son to compose music. He furthermore forbids Nannerl to play the violin for fear of her upstaging Wolfgang.

Mozart's Sister - International Films - Independent Films | Music Box Films

A daring feat by any measure, Féret's imagined account of Nannerl Mozart's early struggles sharply pivots on an invented romantic liaison she develops with the Dauphin (Clovis Fouin) to Louis XV. The opportune introduction comes at the behest of the Dauphin's forthright young sister Louise de France (wonderfully played by the director's other daughter Lisa Féret).

Madame Solario (2012) - Rotten Tomatoes

The couple's attraction is complicated by the necessity for Nannerl to dress as a boy in order to approach the Dauphin, who is nonetheless won over by her phenomenal singing voice. "Mozart's Sister" fits easily into a category of meaningful bio-pictures about long-suffering French heroines of art that includes films like "Seraphine" and "Adele H." Marie Féret's magical eyes allow for a haunting performance that transcends time. Prepare to be swept away.

Mozart's Sister - International Films - Independent Films | Music Box Films

Not Rated. 120 mins.

3 Stars

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MYSTERIES OF LISBON

Misterios_de_lisboaRaul Ruiz's magnificent adaptation of Camilo Castelo Branco's epic period melodrama is a four-and-a-half-hour extravaganza which cuts a deep swath across 19th century European history. Portugal, Italy, France, Brazil, and Spain present fertile locations for interconnecting strands of romance, war, and tragedy to tangle among the material's many characters. Screenwriter Carlos Saboga deftly handles a narrative that makes "Gone With the Wind" look like a short story by comparison.

Mysteriesoflisbon

Pedro de Silva (João Arrais) is a young illegitimate boy cast into a Lisbon Catholic boarding school overseen by Father Dinis (Adriano Luz). The back story of Pedro's identity creates a narrative hub for the overarching drama. Father Dinis proves instrumental by introducing the orphaned Pedro to his long-lost mother Angela (Maria Joao Bastos), the countess of Santa Barbara. Sadly, all is not wine and roses once mother and child are reunited. Flashbacks and sidetracking subplots shift with a breathtaking fluidity as we learn of the conspiracies, accidents, and choices that enabled Pedro to live as he does.

Mysteriesoflisbon

The Chilean-born Raul Ruiz uses the film frame as a giant canvas upon which history bleeds. Cinematographer André Szankowski conspires with art director Isabel Branco to lure the audience inside rich, mesmerizing compositions. As pivotal characters are reinvented we realize the circumstances and survival mechanisms essential to a way of life that is long forgotten. The "mysteries" of Lisbon are memories revived in a film that transports its audience back in time.

Not Rated. 257 mins.

4 Stars

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

This website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon.

Cole Smithey on Patreon

August 05, 2011

THE HELP

Colesmithey.comKathryn Stockett's 2009 novel gives way to a brief odyssey through the damned and damning racist conventions of the South via Jackson, Mississippi in the early '60s. Actor-turned-director Tate Taylor wisely puts all faith and responsibility in his nearly all-women cast to embody the mannerisms and accents of an era not so far removed as some would like to think.

The film's gifted ensemble dream cast of actresses work every angle of motivation, objective, and emotion with lasting dramatic touches.

The Help' Spans Two Worlds, White and Black - Review - The New York Times

Emma Stone brings her A-game as "Skeeter" Phelan, an upstart author whose day job writing an advice column for the local paper sends her doing research with her neighbor's salt-of-the-earth maid Aibileen Clark (exquisitely played by Viola Davis). Skeeter is partial to the plight of the local maids because she was raised by her family's caring servant Constantine Jefferson (Cicely Tyson). Constantine's mysterious disappearance from the Phelan household provides one of several suspended hooks that link the complex narrative together.

The Help Movie Review

Informed by uncomfortable meetings with the local white-ladies-who-lunch, as overseen by toilet-obsessed racist Hilly Holbrook (Bryce Dallas Howard), Skeeter is inspired to write a book based on her interviews with the local help. Under threat of legal punishment or Jim Crow justice, only Aibileen is willing to participate in Skeeter's clandestine interviews. In time, Aibileen's more outspoken best friend Minny Jackson (Octavia Spencer) agrees to tell everything she knows and thinks about the humiliating working conditions she has worked under and witnessed.

The Help cast: List of actors and the characters they play in the movie

You sense a good-humored gamesmanship between the actresses as they bring out the best in each other's performances. Octavia Spencer and Viola Davis are a pleasure to watch. You almost feel like you're watching live theater with the way sparks fly between the two soulfully animated women. The same level of unvarnished energy goes for Sissy Spacek, Cicely Tyson, and Allison Janney, all of whom make their supporting roles count. For her villainous role Bryce Dallas Howard makes you hate her with a passion.

The Help movie review & film summary (2011) | Roger Ebert

"The Help" takes its audience on an emotional rollercoaster through lives lived in a culture that is aptly named Hell on Earth during one scene. Still, it never slips into exploitation or humor for humor's sake. Every word, thought, and deed follows a path paved with blood, sweat, and tears. This is an appropriately moving film that never bows to sentimentality. What you feel is real. By all means, see this wonderful movie.

Rated PG-13. 137 mins.

5 Stars

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

This website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon.

Cole Smithey on Patreon

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