Richard White's dream is to stage opera in the living room of his Norfolk home. Mira Erdevicki's film captures White's determination, village politics and the reaction of his neighbours ...
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Richard White's dream is to stage opera in the living room of his Norfolk home. Mira Erdevicki's film captures White's determination, village politics and the reaction of his neighbours surrounding the staging of Mozart's "Il Seraglio" in a 1960's staging with his cast of local amateurs. In essence the film highlights the foibles of British middle-class culture and some amusing moments through the eyes of the Yugoslav born Director. Written by
A vaguely interesting film because it shows the viewer this curious little world but it does nothing that interesting with it
Richard White was once an opera singer but the job required a lot of travel so he gave it up. Years later he decides to bring his passion to his home instead and converted part of his Norfolk house into a small opera theatre. This film follows him as he puts on his most recent production while we also look behind the scenes at the difficulties with the planning permissions and tensions with local residents.
The title of this film was enough to make me interested. For those curious about what it means it is worth noting that the White's live in considerable luxury in a house that few of us would ever be able to afford. This means that the "living room" of the title is actually a massive area in the heart of a massive house. This is a minor aside though because in theory it should still make for an interesting subject. At the start it does offer something of value but after about 15 minutes it doesn't offer much more in the way of interest and instead just settles down into filming what happens from then on. This is not actually that interesting and what we end up with is lots of footage of cars reversing down country lanes. Apart from a couple of brief views from the wings and backstage, we are not shown that much of the opera itself and this lack of action also goes for the very brief comments from the council and residents. This is disappointing because it made me wonder what the point of the film was when it really did all it wanted to do in ten minutes.
So for the majority of the time we are simply following Richard White a man so upper middle class that he probably has it written through him like a stick of rock. That he has a passion is undeniable but this does not excuse the very snotty way he carries himself. We see him ranting about how the majority of people do nothing with their lives and that he is one of the select few that do something meaningful instead; later we also see him talking about how Britain is split into social groups and that everyone does what their group does with very little crossover hence opera is not that well supported. Laughably it is suggested that he is one of the few that move effortlessly between these groups! That he is a bit of a pompous sort is forgivable but I cannot understand why the film spent so much time with him without an apparent aim.
Overall then this is a vaguely interesting film because it shows the viewer this curious little world. However it does nothing that interesting with it there is no detail on anything and almost all the action (conflict, stress, opera) happens off screen heck it even fails to adequately convey the passion required to make this happen and preserve with it. The title tells you what the film is about but the delivery is worth 10 minutes max certainly not an hour.
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