What this excellent piece of cinema verite actually reveals is not so much a gallant department struggling against fiscal horrors (and these are certainly real) but some sobering truths about tenured university teachers . The real centre of the film is the self obsession and self interest of the departmental staff - top heavy even for an older university.Facing the Music is great film-making but is also a classic case of a wily subtext overwhelming the filmmakers' intended message .
The dramatic payoff -Professor Boyd's rather derivative Anglican church music- is presented to a posh and bourgeois audience and hardly seems the stuff to inspire anyone other than those who believe liturgical music stopped in the mid 1930s.Certainly not contemporary music students.
The true hero of this movie is 'Chris' -the administrative officer who is holding the leaky vessel together .She us surrounded by wailing and weeping teachers, all claiming stress and untimely death as the clear fate for such sensitive souls as they. Around them the wonderful young students practise and create away and provide for the soundtrack a glorious and ironic counterpoint. Naturally not one of them gets to speak! The whole doco reveals, quite starkly, that claiming 'standards' and higher goals' than the students or mere administration could ever comprehend is shown up for the special pleading it is -all in one key scene where a quavering female student is monstered into tears in the name of Art. A clear case of the 'speaking subject' talking too much.Very revealing indeed.
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