6.6/10
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46 user 32 critic

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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ON DISC
1 win & 3 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, a Diva See more »

Filming Locations:

Romania See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend:

€338,565 (Italy), 22 September 2002, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$37,855, 7 November 2004, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$445,996, 12 June 2005
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

A poster of AC/DC's "If You want Blood, You've got It" is seen hanging on a wall of the production company. The record was released in 1978 (one year after Maria Callas' death). See more »

Connections

Referenced in Le code a changé (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Libiamo (Brindisi)
from "La Traviata"
Music by Giuseppe Verdi
Performed by Maria Callas with Orchestra e Coro del Teatro alla Scala
Conducted by Carlo Maria Giulini
Enregistrement public 1955
Publié par EMI Classics
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A truly great movie without a general release
16 May 2005 | by MikeF-6See all my reviews

I have never been much interested in Zeffirelli as a film director. Of his 22 directing credits, I have only seen four others- 3 of Shakespeare and 1 film of an opera based on Shakespeare. But he has come through with a great one here. It has a 2002 date but is just now getting a limited release in the U.S. Zeffirelli directs his own story and screenplay of a fictional account involving opera legend Maria Callas, sort of a what-might-have-been scenario based on his memories of his long professional association and personal friendship with Callas. The story takes place in 1977. Jeremy Irons plays a music promoter who is based loosely on Zeffirelli himself. When he flies into Rome, his job is managing PR for a heavy metal rock band. He tries to get in to see his old friend, Callas, but she has barricaded herself inside her apartment, being a long time in grief over the loss of her singing voice and the loss of Aristotle Onassis. Irons finally does talk to her and convinces her to take part in a comeback of sorts. Callas had recorded Bizet's "Carmen", but never performed it on stage. She agrees to appear in a film of Carmen where she will lip-sync to her older recording. This sets up a number of professional, personal, and ethical minefields for all involved. In the person of the great French actress Fanny Ardant, we see all of the diva's depth of emotion, her temperament, her grief, and her great talent. Callas was the whole package: her voice was an astounding musical instrument, but she was also a consummate stage actress who could deliver a powerful characterization with both her body and her voice – her singing was much more than just technical skill. Ardant embodies this temperamental talent to the max. Irons does his best work in years. In a parallel construction, as Callas' life begins to come together again, Irons' life falls into crisis as he struggles to save his career and his new relationship with a handsome young artist. The film features a lot of Callas' music, often in quite long excerpts, which is beautiful and devastating. More importantly, we get to see several long scenes from "Carmen" – the movie within the movie – and it looks wonderful. I really, really want to see that movie! I went to this at a local art house on Stupor Bowl Sunday afternoon. They had booked it into their smallest auditorium and were only running three shows that day. The house was packed! My Lovely Wife and I showed up – as we thought – a little early, but had to sit apart. A friend went the next Wednesday night and it was packed again – Wednesday night! At my showing as well as my friend's, nobody left when the closing credits ran (Callas singing "Casta Diva"), there was tremendous applause, and at the Wednesday night showing, my friend heard several gasps of astonishment. A week later, I am still all goose-pimply from the thought of the experience. See it. You won't regret it.


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