In 1830s Paris four arty types shiver in a garret, owing rent but when one of their number,musician Schaunard,earns money they are all set to buy a meal in a nearby restaurant. Poet Rodolpho stays behind to finish his writing and is interrupted by Lucia,known as Mimi,a seamstress from the next apartment. They are instantly attracted to each other and catch the others up at the restaurant where Rodolpho's painter friend Marcello is re-acquainted with his flirtatious ex-girlfriend Musetta, who dumps her sugar daddy,after getting him to pay everyone's bill,for him. Some time later Musetta and Alfredo are living together,as are Mimi and Rodolpho,but he is aware that she has tuberculosis and is mean to her in the hopes she will leave him for someone who can take better care of her. Eventually she does,Musetta splits from Marcello and the four men resume garret life. They are visited by Musetta,who has sought out Mimi,now living with a wealthy count,but dying,and has brought her back to die...Written by
don @ minifie-1
I was excited to watch this film on PBS after an early holiday dinner. It certainly didn't get off to a good start, with the young Bohemian roommates overacting and over-singing, about nothing at all. Apparently, director Robert Dornhelm had no idea how to play that down. Or else he didn't bother; I don't know. Rolando Villazón should have been encouraged to start off in a more subtle way, with less volume and less mugging. And the makeup artists surely could have done something to make him appear less lugubrious.
It was disappointing to see Anna Netrebko, a riveting actress and singer, so ill-used. Again, there must have been some way to make her appear both more attractive and more interesting; on stage, she is gorgeous and completely unique. The split-screen technique made no sense and added nothing to the drama, while scenes that featured people singing off-screen were confusing and boring.
I'm sure this is not entirely the director's fault. Grand opera fares best on the stage, and often appears stiff and overblown in film versions. Probably the best idea would simply have been to film the singers performing on stage in front of an audience. We would have gotten the benefit of verisimilitude, and the dramatic gestures and heroic singing that opera demands would have seemed much more fitting.
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