Farinelli, is the artistic name of Carlo Broschi, a young singer in Handel's time. He was castrated in his childhood in order to preserve his voice. During his life he becomes to be a very ...
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Farinelli, is the artistic name of Carlo Broschi, a young singer in Handel's time. He was castrated in his childhood in order to preserve his voice. During his life he becomes to be a very famous opera singer, managed by his mediocre brother (Riccardo).Written by
Michel Rudoy <email@example.com>
Belgium's official submission to the Best Foreign Language Film category for the 67th Academy Awards. See more »
LIGHTING. In scenes that show stage lights and chandeliers, the focus on them is softened, but it can still be seen that the "lamps" and "candles" are in fact far too steady, and too smokeless, to be or to contain live flame. Gaslight was not brought into theatres until just after 1800 (in England), and limelight -- with real quicklime -- around 1820. Also, some outdoor lighting -- outside palaces, etc. -- is obviously too bright, blue- or green-shaded, smokeless, and sharp-edged to come from a bonfire. See more »
The sets and costumes are magnificent and give a 21st century viewer a glimpse of what life must have been like for the fortunate wealthy in the days of the baroque composers, but the story is confusing and there was far too much gratuitous sex. It was as if the filmmakers did not think that the beautiful music and sumptuous settings could carry the film. I don't know if something was lost in the subtitling, or whether too much film was left on he cutting room floor, but I was baffled by a number of the characters. Who was Benjamin and why did he wear a body brace? Who were Alexandra and Margareth? The characters simply seemed to be a device to move the story along to the bizarre and unnecessary sex scenes.
My biggest problem was with the poor lip synching, which was so obvious that it distracted and spoiled the flow of the film. It was not just that the facial mannerisms did not match the voice, but that the volume actually dropped to the extent that the voice seemed to be coming from off stage. Nowhere was this worse than the trumpet scene at the beginning. The castrati had very powerful voices, but Farinelli's voice sounds like a far-off squeak. Synching has been done very successfully in the past, most notably by Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady and Ava Gardner is Show Boat, and most famously by Edmund Purdom in the Student Prince, so it should not be beyond the capability of film makers 40 or more years later. I felt that the film would have been more convincing if Farinelli had been played by a soprano doing her own singing, and had concentrated more on the relationship with the brother who was riding on Farinelli's coat tails. How often have we seen a partnership where one half is nothing without the other, and knows it.
As for the comparison with the decadent rock star life style, that is how the castrati stars allegedly lived in the hedonistic 18th-century. I am not sure either that the castrati strutted around the stage like drag queens as they were supposed to be playing the women's parts as women. Given Ken Russell’s record of appallingly bad taste portrayals of musicians, it is surprising that he never attempted this one. It was right up his street.
Opera lovers would be better served by listening to recordings of Handels operas.
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