On the day she celebrates her birthday, Jeanne, a young actress, is told by her mother her father is an Indian she once met on the banks on the river Ganges. From then on, Jeanne acts with ... See full summary »
Isild Le Besco,
In 1865, Timothee, a wanderer, arrives in a village in southern France pretending he is deaf and mute. There, he is struck by the beauty of a young woman, Josephine, and asks for ... See full summary »
Isild Le Besco,
Nahuel Pérez Biscayart,
I'd read some bad reviews of this film, and didn't expect to enjoy it. For me Tosca is such a great opera that I couldn't imagine how technical trickery could do anything but spoil it. However, director Jacquot has actually enhanced it at times, although the grainy pictures of outside locations didn't work for me.
The film begins with black and white film of the singers recording the sound track, and occasionally this device is used during the opera itself, but I found it interesting and it didn't break the spell of the story in any way. In fact, when Ruggero Raimondi stood up to record his entrance he looked just as frightening as he did when acting!
Allowing the singers to either talk or stand silently thinking while their arias or recitatives were played was a great idea. For me it worked best when Raimondi's Baron Scarpia was watching Angela Gheorghin's Tosca as he tried to poison her mind with jealousy so that she would lead him to her lover Mario Cavaradossi. This could be because out of the three leads, it's Raimondi who has the best screen presence. He not only looks right, he can act as well, and although Angela Gheorghin looked beautiful, I was disappointed in her acting skills. For me her Tosca lacked passion and she seemed more interested in looking lovely than reacting appropriately.
Her scenes with Scarpia were her best scenes, mainly because Roberto Alagna failed to generate any hint of passion or sexuality, which was a huge disappointment. Even his singing sounded as though he was in an echo chamber, which made me suspect that he was underpowered. Maybe it was a technical fault, but it was irritating.
It was an involving film, and the sumptious costumes and sheer brilliance of Raimondi's singing and acting meant that it had moments of genius. Overall it was a great film for me, and one that I can't wait to see again. The golden couple of Gheorghin and Alagna didn't quite live up to their reputations, but Ruggero Raimondi certainly made up for it. Even if you're not an opera lover, it's worth watching this film for his performance alone, and if you are an opera lover then see it as soon as you can for the whole production.
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