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A fictionalized account of the last days of opera singer Maria Callas (Ardant).

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(original idea), (scenario) | 1 more credit »
2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Michael
...
Marco / Don Jose
Manuel de Blas ...
Esteban Gomez
...
Jean Dalric ...
Gerard
...
Brendan
Anna Lelio ...
Bruna
Alessandro Bertolucci ...
Marcello
Olivier Galfione ...
Thierry
Roberto Sanchez ...
Escamillo
Achille Brugnini ...
Ferruccio
...
Eugene
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Storyline

This is 1977. Maria Callas; the most famous diva in the world, lives confined in her Paris apartment. Larry Kelly, a producer friend, offers her to sing Carmen in a televised concert. Unfortunately Maria's voice, tired and worn by years and strain, is not what it used to be. Larry knows the way around the problem : a technical stratagem will create the illusion. Maria, disregarding her friend Sarah's warning, agrees with the idea and the show is a tremendous success. With that in mind, Larry now considers a new version of "Tosca". But this time, Maria objects to the subterfuge. Her decision will mark the beginning of the end for the legendary singer... Written by Guy Bellinger

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some sexual content and strong language | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

| | | |

Language:

| | |

Release Date:

18 September 2002 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Ikuisesti Callas  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$34,582 (South Africa) (2 July 2004)

Gross:

$445,996 (USA) (10 June 2005)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Goofs

The film is set in 1977, however extras are seen wearing modern (2001/2) clothes and modern cars are seen in the background. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Le code a changé (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Casta diva
from "Norma"
Music by Vincenzo Bellini (as Bellini)
Performed by Orchestra e Coro del Teatro alla Scala
Conducted by Tullio Serafin
Enregistrement EMI Classics
(P) 1954 EMI Records Ltd
Enregistré en collaboration avec le Théâtre de la Scala, Milan
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Very beautiful
18 October 2003 | by See all my reviews

This movie is very beautiful. It's plot is essentially a fantasy by Zeffirelli, revolving around the idea of Callas starring in a film production of Bizet's Carmen, at a time when her life was drawing to it's close and her magnificent voice had been reduced to a painful echo of it's former glory. This setup is completely imaginary - Zeffirelli, of course, being intimate with Callas, having worked with her on a number of productions - and although Callas is at the focal point of the story, one can safely assume that this movie is as much about Zeffirelli himself as it is about the great diva.

The film's main characters - the aging artist, the agent, the film critic - are mainly used to explore themes familiar to those living the life of artistic creation; the fading of creative powers, the meaning of integrity in art, the influence of money and publicity, love and the beauty of youth. This is Zeffireli speaking here, making use of one of the most expressive voices ever heard, to express feelings of his own.

It is is better not to approach this movie guided by expectations of absorbing revealing biographical elements. Though Ardant convincingly depicts the arrogance and overbearing personality which were often present in Callas' behaviour - with a few very convincing tantrums thrown in - there is a sentimentality projected that is more of a wishful thinking than factual characterization; one can hardly imagine Callas enjoying herself in an impromptu picnic in a park, surrounding herself with nothing but carefree informality. But the movie is very strong on most aspects; the directing is fabulous, both in it's pace and in it's settings, and the acting - Jeremy Irons in particular - is truly exceptional. And then it's the music - wonderful singing from Callas' voice, coupled with scenes from a very spirited production of Carmen where Ardant gives a convincing performance in a very demanding part.

For some people the movie will prove somewhat unsatisfying, the more so if one focuses exclusively on Callas at the cost of ignoring other nuances and ideas, and the sheer pleasure of listening to the music and singing. But it is definitely recommended to watch, and for opera lovers it is a must see.


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