Thirty years ago, Andrei Simoniovich Filipov, the renowned conductor of the Bolshoi orchestra, was fired for hiring Jewish musicians. Now a mere cleaning man at the Bolshoi, he learns by ... See full summary »
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Thirty years ago, Andrei Simoniovich Filipov, the renowned conductor of the Bolshoi orchestra, was fired for hiring Jewish musicians. Now a mere cleaning man at the Bolshoi, he learns by accident that the Châtelet Theater in Paris invites the Bolshoi orchestra to play there. He decides to gather together his former musicians and to perform in Paris in the place of the current Bolshoi orchestra. As a solo violin player to accompany his old Jewish or Gypsy musicians he wants Anne-Marie Jacquet, a young virtuoso. If they all overcome the hardships ahead this very special concert will be a triumph. Written by
Greetings again from the darkness. Typically when a film is billed is a "French comedy", we can expect a farcical good time with self-centered characters who flitter their days away. Director Radhu Mihaileanu delivers something completely different and unexpected.
Two really fine performances drive this story. Aleksei Guskov plays Andrei Filipov, the one time conductor of the Bolshoi orchestra, who lost his beloved job because he employed Jewish musicians during the harshest of Communist days. Nearly three decades later he finds himself as the janitor in the same hall where he once conducted. Because of this, an opportunity presents itself that allows him to seek redemption in his own life, and that of another.
Melanie Laurent, who was so outstanding as the theatre manager with a nasty plan in Inglourious Basterds, plays Anne-Marie Jacquet - a violin virtuoso who Filipov demands to have in his orchestra for a show in Paris. Ms. Laurent displays tremendous screen presence with minimal dialogue. She is quite a talent and I hope she spends more time in the U.S. making movies! The comedy portion of the film occurs as Filipov frantically assembles his orchestra from all over the city. They have each gone their separate ways and some no longer even have their own instruments. Of course, none of the musical portion is believable, but as I said, this is a story of redemption.
The film climaxes with a wonderful onstage performance combined with a startling montage that really puts the details into the story that's been skirted for the first 90 minutes. It is a wonderful ending to a decent film that really had the potential to be amazing.
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