This film is a docufiction on the great Toscanini directed by well-known filmmaker Larry Weinstein; who pushes the boundaries of conventional documentary storytelling by borrowing tools ... See full summary »
This film is a docufiction on the great Toscanini directed by well-known filmmaker Larry Weinstein; who pushes the boundaries of conventional documentary storytelling by borrowing tools from fiction films; including dramatic reconstructions and historical cinematic stylings. Written by
The film gives the impression that Toscanini did not give interviews. Toscanini was never interviewed on radio or television, but author and critic B.H. Haggin, who became a personal friend, was the only critic allowed access to the conductor and visited him often, resulting in a book entitled "Conversations with Toscanini", published after the conductor's death. And NBC Symphony Orchestra member Samuel Antek, who wrote a book entitled "This Was Toscanini", visited him at his home in Riverdale; Antek included this experience in his book. See more »
I have reservations about the format used by this film. Mixing documentary sequences with rendering of real life dialogs by actors involves the risks of theatricality, and seldom or never generates something valuable from a documentary or artistic point of view. It is the case with this docu-drama which uses some of a footage of the great conductor Toscanini who was quite well filmed during his life and merges them with the acting of some of the dialogs recorded by Toscanini's son in the last years of his life. The result is quite respectful and true to the memory of the musician, but has no real breakthrough from a biography point of view and no dramatic revelation from an artistic or documentary angle. The little dramatization around seems to have at least one historical mistake - Guido Cantelli whose wife is presented in the dramatization spending the New Year eve 1957 with Toscanini and telling about her husband conductor being on a tour was actually dead at that date, having died in November 1956 in a plane clash. The score is composed of good music, but music fans following music documentaries at TV stations like Mezzo or ARTE are already familiar with these as well. Overall an average didactic level documentary that does not bring too much of new, for classical music fans to enjoy only.
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