In 1830s Paris four arty types shiver in a garret, owing rent but when one of their number,musician Schaunard,earns money they are all set to buy a meal in a nearby restaurant. Poet Rodolpho stays behind to finish his writing and is interrupted by Lucia,known as Mimi,a seamstress from the next apartment. They are instantly attracted to each other and catch the others up at the restaurant where Rodolpho's painter friend Marcello is re-acquainted with his flirtatious ex-girlfriend Musetta, who dumps her sugar daddy,after getting him to pay everyone's bill,for him. Some time later Musetta and Alfredo are living together,as are Mimi and Rodolpho,but he is aware that she has tuberculosis and is mean to her in the hopes she will leave him for someone who can take better care of her. Eventually she does,Musetta splits from Marcello and the four men resume garret life. They are visited by Musetta,who has sought out Mimi,now living with a wealthy count,but dying,and has brought her back to die... Written by
don @ minifie-1
It is surprising to see the number of naysayers among the reviews of this filmed version of Puccini's beloved LA BOHEME singling out the very elements that allow stage works to become transferred to the film medium (lip syncing, closeups of cinematic details, uses of both black and white and color, etc). What seems to be overlooked is this chance to see the two leading interpreters of this opera in wide distribution for those who cannot see them in person. As a film this version by Robert Dornhelm works wonders with the intentions of Puccini's bohemian lovers living on little but their love of the arts and for life in the Parisian garrets in the snowy wintertime. He introduces moments of Paris in the snow in black and white, much like old animated daguerreotypes, before the brief overture begins and keeps the flavor of the action moving seamlessly while adding additional elements of information using the same format. He offers some visual information about the passion of the lovers that allows him to reference these moments later in the story when memory brings them forward. All of this makes the opera more than opera: these elements make this a fine movie.
But the true pleasure of this film is the glorious singing and acting of Rolando Villazón and Anna Netrebko as the lovers. They are gorgeous to look at, magnificent in their vocal interpretations, and extraordinary actors. And close behind them is the camaraderie of the entire cast, especially Nicole Cabell as Musetta, George Von Bergen as Marcello, Adrian Eröd as an exceptional Schaunard, and Vitalij Kowaljow as Colline. The involvement in the story is solid and wholly believable and this is a cast of 'minor characters' whose presence is constantly felt and appreciated. Bertrand de Billy conducts with a sure hand. In short if anyone can watch this version of LA BOHEME with a dry eye, then perhaps they are not giving the power of Puccini a chance to be extended into the cinematic techniques required of really excellent film-making. Grady Harp
5 of 7 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?