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Callas Forever (2002)

The last days of legendary opera singer Maria Callas.

Director:

Franco Zeffirelli

Writers:

Franco Zeffirelli (original story by), Martin Sherman (screenplay by) | 1 more credit »

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2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Fanny Ardant ... Maria Callas
Jeremy Irons ... Larry Kelly
Joan Plowright ... Sarah Keller
Jay Rodan ... Michael
Gabriel Garko ... Marco / Don Jose
Manuel de Blas ... Esteban Gomez
Justino Díaz ... Scarpia
Jean Dalric Jean Dalric ... Gerard
Stephen Billington ... Brendan
Anna Lelio Anna Lelio ... Bruna
Alessandro Bertolucci Alessandro Bertolucci ... Marcello
Olivier Galfione Olivier Galfione ... Thierry
Roberto Sanchez Roberto Sanchez ... Escamillo
Achille Brugnini Achille Brugnini ... Ferruccio
Eugene Kohn ... Eugene
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Storyline

In 1977, Maria Callas, the most famous diva in the world, lives confined in her Paris apartment. Larry Kelly, a producer friend, offers her to sing "Carmen" in a televised concert. Unfortunately Maria's voice, tired and worn by years and strain, is not what it used to be. Larry knows the way around the problem : a technical stratagem will create the illusion. Maria, disregarding her friend Sarah's warning, agrees with the idea and the show is a tremendous success. With that in mind, Larry now considers a new version of "Tosca". But this time, Maria objects to the subterfuge. Her decision will mark the beginning of the end for the legendary singer. Written by Guy Bellinger

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some sexual content and strong language | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Italy | France | Spain | UK | Romania

Language:

English | French | Italian | Spanish

Release Date:

18 September 2002 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Callas See more »

Filming Locations:

Romania See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$37,855, 7 November 2004

Gross USA:

$446,955

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$5,932,503
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The plot of Callas making a film of "Carmen" is totally fictitious. See more »

Goofs

The view from Callas' apartment window is wrong. It's on avenue Georges-Mandel west of the Eiffel tower so the Invalides which is east of the tower can't be in front of it. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Change of Plans (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Casta diva
from "Norma"
Music by Vincenzo Bellini (as Bellini)
Performed by Orchestra e Coro del Teatro alla Scala
Conducted by Tullio Serafin
Enregistrement EMI Classics
(P) 1954 EMI Records Ltd
Enregistré en collaboration avec le Théâtre de la Scala, Milan
See more »

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User Reviews

Not The Disaster That Rumour Has It...
2 September 2004 | by dwingroveSee all my reviews

Beautifully acted, intelligently written and criminally neglected by critics and distributors (it wasn't even released in the UK or USA) Callas Forever is a haunting and poignant study of the sacrifices an artist makes for her art. The director Franco Zeffirelli based much of it on his own 25-year friendship with the lady herself. Still, this is anything but a straightforward biopic. In a fictional story set during the last few months of the diva's life, Zeffirelli plays a tantalising game of "What if..?"

It's the spring of 1977, and Maria Callas - the world's most famous opera star - is now a recluse in Paris. A tragic cross between Garbo and Norma Desmond, she spends her life popping pills, fighting off bad dreams and listening to recordings of her voice at its glorious peak. Fanny Ardant does a stunning impersonation of the Callas voice and mannerisms. She even looks uncannily like her (apart from the odd awkward shot where she looks like Nana Mouskouri!) But her private hell is disrupted by the arrival of an old friend...

Larry Kelly (Jeremy Irons) is a flamboyant gay impresario, complete with pony-tail! He's just had the brainwave of matching recordings of Callas in her prime with movie versions of her greatest opera hits. First up is Carmen, and this film-within-a-film (a riot of dancing gypsies, dashing matadors and floating lace mantillas) is easily the highlight of the show. We also get not one but two tragic love stories - Maria's unrequited passion for a hunky young tenor (Gabriel Garko) and Larry's doomed affair with a cute young painter (Jay Rodan).

At the end, Larry and Maria sit on a park bench and muse on how they have Sacrificed Their Lives For Their Art. Was it worth it? When the final result is as touching and lyrical as Callas Forever...well, most definitely, yes. Provided, of course, the public gets a chance to see it!


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