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|Index||23 reviews in total|
I watched this bit of eye candy in the hope that the story of Alma Schindler
Mahler Gropius Werfel would unfold and the world could see a portrait of a
daring, talented woman who was indeed liberated in nearly every sense of the
word. Mahler is one of one of my favorite composers and I became fascinated
with Alma Schindler, believe it or not, from a parody sung by Tom Lehrer.
However, since that time, many, many years ago, I've managed to read several
excellent biographies of Mahler as well as Alma Schindler's autobiography,
which leads me to comment on this film.
Sadly, this film disappoints. It is a beautiful piece of work, with darkness wrought from bright colors, ala Bergman's Cries and Whispers, and with wonderful costumes. But, as the other reviews herein note, the script is weak and Sarah Wynter's performance is spotty. Indeed, the two male stars, Jonathon Pryce as Mahler and Vincent Perez as the artist, Oskar Kokoschka outshine Wynter's tentative characterization of Alma. Perez is especially bright, exuding passion and artistic madness, as biographer's have depicted the painter, a pioneer in early 20th Century expressionism. Peter Verhoeven as Gropius and Gregor Seberg as Werfel seem to get ground up and we're left wondering why they were written into the script...in spite of the fact, each played a significant role in the life of Alma Schindler Mahler Gropius Werfel. Too bad, they are underutilized. And, to continue slamming the script, they are badly depicted. Gropius, the great architectural innovator of the Bauhaus was hardly the foppish Mama's boy shown in the film. And, the passionate, multi-talented Franz Werfel, author of Song of Berndadette and Forty Days at Musa Dagh, was hardly the clowning caricature presented in the film. Even the solid performance of Welsh veteran Jonathon Pryce is led astray. The driven, passionate and often neurotic Mahler, compulsively washing his hands 12 times a day was not the staid, stoic older man shown in this film. So, alas, the great subject matter has been neglected. What results is not-a-bad movie about a fascinating woman that with a bit more research, better script, and a different leading lady could have been excellent, really excellent film.
It is difficult to imagine that a movie that in any way pertains to Gustav Mahler could fall so flat. But of course this movie isn't about Gustav Mahler. You just want it to be. And you watch it hoping that it will be. It is instead about his pedestrian wife, Alma. Here are her notable achievements worthy of a movie about her life: she married Gustav Mahler. That's it. The marriage was routine. She gave up her "future" as a composer in her own right (that seems to have mostly been in her own mind) in order to be a wife and mother, resented it from time to time, had an affair, her husband (Mahler) died, she had another affair, then married for a second time, then married for a third time, then wrote a song cycle that no one performs. And that's the movie. There was nothing notable about her life. And nothing notable about this movie. Even Mahler's transcendent music doesn't get out of this mess in tact. The writing is VERY bad, and then it's just downhill from there. The scenes are constructed in the most un-imaginary way conceivable and the direction is flat, flat, flat. Bruce Beresford doesn't seem to know, or understand, or isn't interested in, anything about the films content. The actors are lost. There is an attempt to color the tone of the movie with dark lighting to convey something atmospheric, but with nothing in the soul of this film to parallel it it just comes off as muddy. Don't bother especially if you are a Mahler fan, or a movie fan.
This film begins with very great promise. The opening credits are very
involving. Unfortunately, the script is banal and not very engaging at all.
So after the opening credits, it is all downhill. I just do not believe that
the romantic liaisons of Alma Mahler were this shallow and trite. We are led
to believe that Alma Mahler is nothing but an opportunistic loose woman. We
are given no background to understand her actions. With the exception of her
relationship with Gustav Mahler, we are not given any information so that we
can understand why so many talented men were drawn to her. Perhaps a more
formidable actress would have convinced us otherwise. Her relationships with
most of these important historical figures are never really fleshed out so
that we can become involved and feel something for these
The acting by Jonathan Pryce as Mahler is good. Vincent Perez is alluring as Kokoschka. However, the weakest acting is that of Simon Verhoeven as Walter Gropius. Ms. Wynter is obviously an excellent actress but she is destroyed by this awful script and she is not that sexually alluring. The music is, of course, wonderful. It is Mahler for the most part.
I was drawn to this film because I wanted to be moved by a chapter in the life of Mahler and to perhaps experience some of the excitement of this period of creative activity in Vienna and Central Europe. The settings are enjoyable but the film is a great disappointment for anyone seeking to know more about the life of Alma Mahler.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Alma Mahler is one of impressive legends of Mitteleuropa. To describe
her life is an Utopian endeavor. Her power, art of seduction, fights
and ambitions, her relationship with flower of Austrian culture, the
American experience and his prestige are parts of unique existence
without any explanation.
In this film, Alma is only a character. Oversimplified, mosaic of clichés, image in a steamed mirror. It is only a hasty sketch, message less, artificial, in who the charm of Sarah Wynter is unique trap for spectator. It is not, at least, a cogent disappointed.
The Jonathan Pryce acting is interesting but irrelevant. The atmosphere is only illusion of a gorgeous period. And the story falls in abyss. Alma Mahler is more that a beautiful doll. She is a magnificent legend of a amber time.
I believe that this film has had very few cinema releases due to the
rotten critiques it received.
I saw it at a special screening in Canberra hosted by the director (with witty description of the trials and tribulations involved in its production and non-release). I saw it as an 'OK' biopic and certainly better than so much of the characterless violent drivel served up these days (this of course dates me). I think it deserved more exposure than it got - a worthy entry in the great director's portfolio ..... Remember, the critics usually get it wrong .... and they do not pay to see the films.
Vienna is beautiful, Mahler's wife, Alma is a forgotten feminist hero whose story deserves telling.
I lived in Vienna for four years so I was really excited to see this movie. My attention was grabbed by the DVDs cover art which is a repackaging of The Kiss by Gustav Klimt. The late 1800s until World War II was a very unique time in the fields of art, psychology, music, architecture/design and literature that is very rarely touched upon nowadays. So I had high hopes. But I was disappointed in this movie and I felt it could have been in a much more interesting way. The actors were OK I guess. I don't think they had much in the dialogue department to work with. The points that would have made this much more interesting...the art, music and literary aspects...were just touched upon. But that said, it was billed as a story about one woman's life during this period and how she was a muse to some of the now famous men of the era. Actually I came away being much less sympathetic to this woman than I was before I saw the film. She seemed less of a muse than a woman who used famous men for her own ends. I find it unusual that out of all of Vienna, she managed only to make well-known men her lovers. Men such as Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kolkoschka, Water Gropius, Gustav Mahler and on and on. It really did no favors to this woman's reputation and I viewed her as kind of a user and a whiner. Yes she did not have a lot of freedom but it was the very early 1900s, neither did any other woman. She seemed to have the daring to jump from man to man in the days when this was simply not done in polite society. Yet she did not seem to have the courage to try to make it on her own in the field of music. If she was adventurous enough to throw caution to the wind and live such a bohemian lifestyle, I do not know why she would then have cause to complain about being stifled when she knew full well what marriage in that time entailed. How about having the courage to life your own life and pursue your own dreams in the field of music. Rather than depending on some man to fulfill your dreams then complaining when they are not. So I just found the storyline became very uninteresting very quickly and the other points such as the arts & culture of the time would have added much more interest to the film. But were just glossed over in the end.
I went to see the L.A. premiere of this film, in which the director and
screenwriter (sic) attended. While looking through the tasteful, elegant,
and researched program - I couldn't wait for the theater to darken: A
about 19th Century European Art/Music! Also, I was awaiting the biography
of Ms. Mahler.
Afterward, I couldn't believe some people had the gall to get up and commend this film. Although the film is about enlightened artists, this film is so bourgeois - and we never understand the female lead as she bounces from one bed to the next. The film is sumptuous-looking, and the production values are high - but this does not a good film make. The biggest culprit is the superficial and boring screenplay: There is just no depth in either the lead character, or her relationships with others. Barring feminist politics, the script just doesn't have it in the drama department. It's as if someone said, "Gee, if we make a film about Gustav Mahler's trampy wife, and put all these famous artists in it - that'll make a good film!".
Beresford was obviously gathering a mere paycheck, and Levy probably has friends in high places (what else has she written?!).
Bride of the Wind could have been great, it was an interesting subject and I love music-biographical dramas when they're good. Bride of the Wind was a big disappointment. Sure, it is beautifully shot and looks gorgeous from a colour and production value perspective. The music, mostly from Mahler, is every bit as wonderful, and Jonathan Pryce and particularly Vincent Perez are very good. Unfortunately Sarah Wynter's Alma is devoid of any sensuality, nuances or life, it's a complete blank of a performance that only succeeds in making Alma shallow and thoroughly unlikeable. Simon Verhoeven suffers from being completely under-utilised and underwritten so he can't do anything with his character, who is just there with no depth and nothing to make him distinguishable. But that is the case with all the characters actually, excepting perhaps Gustav Mahler, they are written with no substance- you can safely say that they are literally sketched over- and at no point do you engage with them. The script is completely lifeless and full to the brim with stilted dialogue, while the story is not just dull but too often steps through its content so after the film ended things happen but with hardly anything explaining them. There are also some ridiculously misconceived plot-strands, the one with Alma and Oskar being the main culprit. All in all, looks beautiful with two good performances and wonderful music, but shallow and dull that makes you hate Alma intensely. 4/10 Bethany Cox
Author Susanne Keegan devoted ten years of research in writing the
of Alma Mahler called The Bride of the Wind. The biopic film of the same
name, directed by Bruce Beresford and written by Marilyn Levy, never even
comes close to capturing the real grandeur, brilliance and ambiguity of
femme fatale and gifted musician.
Alma Schindler's life is highlighted during Vienna's golden age of artistic and musical achievement at the turn of the century. The first half of the film focuses primarily on her marriage to classical composer Gustav Mahler and her role as mother to daughters Maria and Anna. The film then moves on to the widowed Alma living in the shadow of Mahler as she develops relationships with architect Walter Gropius, expressionist painter Oskar Kokoschka and poet and novelist Franz Werfel. Attempting to be a sweeping historical and romantic drama, Bride of the Wind is thwarted ultimately by Ms. Levy's very superficial script. Her words fail to breathe any life into people and events. Most of the dialogue leans toward the absurd when you know that these artists were intellectuals with an abundance of creative talent.
As for the director, Bruce Beresford has done some fine work in previous films such as Tender Mercies and Driving Miss Daisy. Unfortunately, he manages to direct this entire film without any inspiration or passion, which the story cries out for.
The casting of Australian actress Sarah Wynter is a major flaw. Ms. Wynter fails to bring any spontaneity, sexuality or mystique to her character resulting in dreams of a Kate Winslet or Rachel Weisz giving us a much more vibrant Alma Mahler. As usual, Welch actor Jonathan Pryce gives a rich performance as Alma's self-absorbed husband, Gustav Mahler, with a striking resemblance to the real Gustav. A round of applause goes to Swiss actor Vincent Perez for evoking any emotional response to the film. Whether he's hot-tempered, passionate, pathetic or even tragic, he's absolutely captivating on screen.
There is, however, a sumptuous flavor to the film in its lush set designs, finely detailed drawing rooms, painting studios and the most gorgeous costumes. The soundtrack is spectacular with a seamless blend of music composed by both Gustav and Alma, as well as some original pieces by Stephen Endelman. Alas, so much potential but little radiance.
At the end of the movie, I could not really understand why so
accomplished men were so taken by this beautiful yet shallow
woman. The movie failed to show her passion or her talents in
foreseeable way. Alma was depicted as just a pretty wooden doll
who showed faint signs of a woman with great zest, but this was
not brought to life in this dull experience of a movie.
Jonathan Pryce was so under-utilized and frankly speaking, the music he conducted in the movie was not moving-since I think more dramatic pieces could have been used to emphasize his characters greatness and his torment as a refugee from his past.
It was exciting to see Klimt and Gropius come to life in a movie, but they were shown as boring and uninspiring men, unlike the legacies they left behind in real life.
The accents were irritating, and so it was very distracting and difficult to remain focused on what was being said throughout the film. (Much like Johnny Depp's attempt at a gypsy accent in "Chocolat").
This movie needed more work on the dialogues between the characters and more focus on its intent. The producers seem to have depended on scenery rather than substance.
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