french films > The Concert

The  Concert

The Concert

The Concert

Review score: * * * * *

cast: Alexei Guskov, Dmitry Nazarov, Melanie Laurent, Francois Berleand, Miou Miou, Valeri Barinov, Anna Kamenkova Pavlova, Lionel Abelanksi

year: 2010

colour: yes

certificate: -15

director: Radu Mihaileanu

runtime: 117

Andrei Filipov (Alexei Guskov) is a former conductor of the Bolshoi Orchestra, who was stripped of his position in 1980 for refusing to fire his Jewish musicians, as part of Brezhnev's anti-Semitic decrees. A recovered alcoholic, he works a denigrating janitorial job at the Bolshoi while his wife runs a business procuring extras for the grotesquely lavish weddings and funerals of Russian tycoons.

When Andrei intercepts a fax from the Theatre du Chatelet inviting the Bolshoi Orchestra to Paris, he comes up with a plan to redeem his dream. He'll bring together his old musicians (now working rag-tag jobs) and they'll pretend to be the famed orchestra to play Tchaikovsky's "Concerto for Violin and Orchestra." His only demand is that celebrated French violinist Anne-Marie Jacquet (Melanie Laurent) accompany them, for mysteriously personal reasons.

The greatest humor lies in the first part of "The Concert," most of all in the clash between Andrei, his best friend and first cellist Sacha (Dmitry Nazarov) and Ivan Gavrilov (Valeri Barinov), the Party official responsible for their demise. The latter immediately accepts to the job of being the fake orchestra's fake manager, secretly dying to see Paris despite his endless spouting of Party rhetoric.
Mihaileanu opts for different filmmaking styles in depicting East and West. A fixed camera shows the French as elegant but staid, whereas the Russians are shot mostly with a hand-held camera, and are lively in their outdated clothes and decrepit surroundings. While these stereotypes work in the beginning, they are over-indulged once the orchestra arrives in Paris.


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