DIRECTOR: JAMES LAPINE
COUNTRY: ENGLISH 1990
WRITTEN BY: Sarah Kernochan
PHOTOGRAPHY BY: Bruno de Keyzer
CAST: Judy Davis as George Sand, Julian Sands as Liszt, Hugh Grant as Chopin, Mandy Patinkin as DeMusset, Bernadette Peters as Marie D'Agoult.
SUPER FEATURES: Beautiful story of a long overdue love affair in the Romantic days of Austria.
I like this film, despite a few people not thinking it is (either) good or worth it.
And perhaps much of it is because I like to 'study' historical characters in the field of the arts, compared to their artistic endeavors.
In this film, we can see a little of FRANZ LISZT, FREDERIC CHOPIN, GEORGE SAND, and a few other artists which stuck together, as the scenes in Europe tend to do.
Franz Liszt is a part of the 'high' society which has helped him become famous for his talented ability to stand up to the already famous pianist Chopin. And as a menber of that society which champions as patrons of the arts, he is also affected by the many women, in search of a match to set them up for life. The writer George Sand (a woman) happens to be on the outside circles of this group, and does her writing in her own manner despite herself, and manages to do alright, even competing with the women who are always in a position to outdo each other. The game is fun as long as no one steps on anyone's toes. On a given evening, Sand discovers the music of Chopin, and proceeds to write one of her books, which gets quoted all around, but is hidden from Chopin by his lover since she doesn't want to lose him. The lover manages to use quotes from the book and keep the composer's attention, until one day he happens to discover why it is that this other woman is infatuated with him. He reads the book, and voila, a new relationship is born.
While there may not quite be a lot of truth, or guarantee that it is all quite correct, there is a nice touch of the 'muse' which drives many artists to create what they do, and in this area, the film is excellent. This is a film for both literature, and music lovers, for it treats both quite importantly. And as such, it also puts down the mistress system as a bit corrupt on its own feet, and that even women are adapt at playing this game. At the time, I presume that it was the thing to do, and was expected to be done without second thought by any woman. Whereas the English Restoration lifestyle openly flaunted the 'cuckold' theory, here they are at least a bit more modest, except when the lights are out. The ladies even suggest several times that they had had affairs with other men, in some orgies, which has always been very well known enjoyment of the European upper crust.
Judy Davis as George Sand is very good, as is Julian Sands as Liszt. And it certainly is ten million miles from the Ken Russell treatment of the same subject. This is serious about the art, where Ken's is a bit more on the unusual side, if not too extravagant. All the ladies in this film have a good time as the courtesans they are, and the film plods along an incredible barrage of gossip and small events, which make it difficult to follow at times. It's difficult to realize that a subtle shot of two women in the background chatting, will eventually come up as an agreement to get something done. But it all ties together well in the end.
A FILM FOR MUSIC AND LITERATURE LOVERS.
Someone says to DELACROIX....paint something 'dead' this time.... you have to know the romantic artists for this film to make better sense of things, by the way. It helps illustrate a lot of the arts from the time. Might not be totally accurate, but I'm not sure that matters much!
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