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In a Medieval Roman chapel, now an oratorio, an elderly factotum sets up for rehearsal. The musicians arrive, joking and teasing. A union shop steward explains that a TV crew is there, talking to them is optional, and there will be no extra compensation. Musicians talk about their instruments. The German conductor arrives and puts them through their paces. He yells, he insults. The shop steward calls a 20 minute break. The conductor retreats to his dressing room and talks about how the world of music has changed, moving away from respect for the conductor. He returns to the rehearsal to find the orchestra in full revolt. What can bring them back to the music? Written by
My score of 5 does not mean that "The Orchestra Rehearsal" is a mediocre film--it's more a score reflecting how enjoyable the film would be for most folks. Most people would be confused and somewhat bemused by the film....and by the time it's over, they'll be wondering whether or not they liked it. It is clearly NOT a film for the average viewer--and the same can be said of many other Fellini films--where surrealism takes precedence over story.
When the film begins, it appears to be a rather ordinary documentary. Various orchestra members talk to the camera and explain in rather ridiculous manners who important their particular musical instrument is. Practically all of them think theirs is the best and ascribe lots of nutty attributes to it. It's mildly, very mildly, amusing. However, as the film progresses, it appears as if the filmmakers took drugs--and the more the film progresses, the more the drugs take effect!! Suddenly, the orchestra degenerates--as if the members are mostly petulant children. What does it all mean? Well, perhaps nothing--or perhaps it's all about the dangers of a truly socialist system. Who knows? Overall, this is a mega-weird film--even by Fellini standards. Unless you are a huge Fellini-phile, I doubt if the film is one you'll adore. Not badly made, but strange. If you like "And the Ship Sails On" or "City of Women", you'll love this film. If you don't like these films, then "The Orchestra Rehearsal" is probably not for you.
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