The Grand Bolero (2021) Poster

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pipe dream
ferguson-627 October 2021
Austin Film Festival 2021 Greetings again from the darkness. The symphonic crescendo of Maurice Ravel's "Bolero" is perfectly synched with this film's crescendo, creating a heart-racing, frantic few moments of passion, lust, revelation, and shock - for both the characters and viewers. Also shocking is discovering that this is writer-director Gabriele Fabbro's first feature length narrative film (after many shorts and videos). This is expert filmmaking and creative storytelling in a time when it's certainly needed and appreciated.

Veteran Italian actor Lidia Vitale stars as Roxanne. The film opens on her haggard face as she utters, "F-you". Right on cue, the organ music thunders over the opening credits. Her bitterness is aimed at the banner hanging outside the church where she works. The words on the banner dare state, "Everything will be fine". This is March 2020, and Italy has just begun the initial shutdown over COVID-19.

Roxanne is a passionate restorer of pipe organs, and this 1700 church currently houses two - one from 1500 and one from 1900. After a workplace tragedy, Roxanne's supervisor, Paolo (Marcello Mariani), finds her an assistant who will work for organ-playing lessons and food. Lucia (Ludovica Mancini) is a young, eager-to-learn mute. Her soft, soulful eyes are in stark contrast to Roxanne's sharp facial features and stone cold glares of loathing. Whereas Roxanne is angry, annoyed, and hot-tempered, Lucia remains spirited, open, and energetic.

Of course, the barriers between the two slowly break down, but the twists and surprises and secrets are gradually unveiled. Roxanne's obsessions are not limited to the beautiful pipe organs and sweet Lucia has a side to her no one would have predicted. Ms. Vitale's performance really drives the story and the building of trust between Roxanne and Lucia. The manner in which conveys the softening of her barriers and the re-directing of her focus is fascinating.

Without being overbearing, the film reminds us of the pandemic through Paolo's all too frequent ringing of the 'death bell', the television reports playing in the background, the protective mask defiantly looped around Roxanne's ear, and the warning that nature may carry out God's wrath. And speaking of nature, the camera work outside the church is, at times, stunning in its beauty, striking angles, and message. It's rare to find a filmmaker's 'first' feature so original and well-executed, and that is on top of Mr. Fabbro's use of powerful pipe organ music throughout. This is a truly fine film that hopefully will find an audience.
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A sight and senses masterpiece
starrettlisa16 March 2022
I am dying to see this film in theaters, because I'm confident the experience will be that much better. (I originally watched it on my computer through a virtual film festival.) Goodness gracious the SOUND! The POWER of the organ! I could FEEL the music. And the echoing feeling of the dialogue in the grand cathedral was spectacular. I have no idea how they pulled that off. The story was unique and captivating. I was constantly guessing at what would happen next.

And Lidia Vitale... WOW. I'm searching for words to describe her performance, but everything comes up short. She is mesmerizing and powerful. She says nothing and says everything.
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A feast for your eyes and your ears
d_dresback13 April 2022
What a visually beautiful film! The cinematography was excellent and the score using all the organ music added so much to the watching experience. All the characters were engaging with worthy performances. I love when a film surprises me in the end, this one did! Very nicely done by Gabriele Fabbro for his first feature film. I look forward to more from this director.
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Powerful film. A must see
ccarella885 April 2022
This film is incredibly visually poetic and the performances are fantastic. Lidia Vitale is a powerhouse and delivers a moving and chilling performance in this film. The score perfectly punctuates the drama on screen and the cinematography and pace keep you enthralled and interested in every detail as the story unfolds. Hope this film comes out in theaters.
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I can't stop thinking about this film
sarahbuchanan-1775710 September 2022
Warning: Spoilers
I have seen a few short films done by Gabriele Fabbro, which were incredible cinematically and in the writing. The Grand Bolero was on a completely new level. The music in this film gave me boiling blood pressure when paired with the explosive passion and tension between Roxanne and Lucia!! The way in which these scenes were executed created such an emotional whirlwind. I could hardly processed what I was seeing from frame to frame because every interaction between the two actresses evolved into another even more lustful and chaotic moment.

Visually, this was one of the most satisfying and exquisite films I have seen at a festival. The contrast between a centuries-old church and the untouched wilderness in what I am assuming is rural Italy, was enough to keep me entertained had this been a silent film. Which by the way, props to the actress who played Lucia. You'll hardly notice that she is mute given her expressive performance that speaks volumes.

This film was jaw dropping. I wish I could watch it again for the first time to experience the utter shock and revelations once more. If you have this luxury, I urge you to take it!
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One of Best at CINEQUEST
jan-9569919 October 2022
Excellent film from Italy at the San Jose film festival, CINEQUEST. During COVID lockdown, a church is closed down and hires a later middle age woman, Roxanne, a organ repairer, restorer and tuner to work on the theater pipe organ and full pipe organ. The lone priest takes in Lucia, rejected by family; not able to talk, illiterate and only understanding English as an assistant. Cold, gruff Roxanne is totally against the idea, but does work with Lucia. Soundtrack is exceptional, church pipe organ, theater organ and sounds of nature. Cinematography of foothills of the Italian Alps and the lush forest vegetation is excellent. Acting is excellent by all.
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A film where the music is the main character
brendabartiromo11 July 2022
The Grand Bolero is compelling and engaging, the acting is amazing and the direction original and creative.

For those who love music, be prepared to the hypnotic sounds of the fascinating pipe organ, which has the real leading role in the story.

I had the pleasure to meet the director Gabriele Fabbro, he is a very young Italian talent, and I'm sure this will be one of his firsts successes.
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Powerful and Captivating
petersmts25 July 2022
Be me.


"Yea I guess I'll go watch a movie." Watch The Grand Bolero.

Cry for two days.

It's fantastic. A touching film anchored by the magnetic performances of Lidia Vitale and Ludovica Mancini. The musical flow is fantastic and I've never been more draw in to a tiny corner of the world that I have no connection to but somehow felt so intimately close to. A testament to the craft on display and the overwhelming care and love put into the film.

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A love letter to real Italy
AdeleBiraghiMaschi10 September 2022
I loved this film!

It is incredibly poetic, beautifully shot and original.

I loved the setting: the woods, winter, Italy, a decrepit church, two organs that need fixing.. It taught me lots I didn't know about organs, and the post twists left me speechless.

The acting is really good and the tension between the character is always present and really carries the story forward, I loved the fact that no character is completely good or evil but each has clear flaws, motivations and qualities.

The score is phenomenal, it paces perfectly with the emotions and it is so rare to hear classical music, let alone played on an organ.

There are lots of metaphors but it never is preachy, I would recommend it.

All in all I found it a delicate love letter to real Italy, not the sunny Country with Vespas that Hollywood is so fond of, but the true identity of my home Country is on display in The Grand Bolero.
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