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amazing movie about music
ilajustatore8 December 2009
If you love music this will quickly become a favorite for you.

This movie is all about music. An orchestra conductor is given a second chance 30 years later and he definitely grabs it.

Life flows through this movie. You can detect how music mixes with life and how music is a part and at the same time is not a part of life.

Music lifts you beyond life.

I also liked the comedy parts. Life is tragedy and comedy and music encompasses it all.

Be advised that the director likes to play and the mixture between fantasy and real life is present throughout the whole movie.

Also, please note the gypsy who arranges the passport issue. In real life he is a member of the Romanian music band Taraf des Haidouks (http://www.myspace.com/tarafdehaidouksbandofgypsies). They have amazing music and you will also be treated with a small sample in the movie. He is one of my favorite characters in the movie and one of my favorite performers on stage.

I'm trying to find any downsides to this movie but I personally can't. The person who accompanied me to the cinema said it was too...soapy. I was just sorry I was not alone in my home...This is a movie where you meet yourself so you'd better not have witnesses.
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Beautifully sad and funny altogether
Adrian Rugina17 January 2010
I liked Le Train De La Vie, but i loved Le Concert. Mihaileanu keeps things simple and withholds just a couple of info, in order to reveal the actual truth at the end of the movie. He creates a drama without forcing you into tears from the beginning, consolidating every dramatic moment with a gag, joke or just a funny face. He builds funny characters, that you can enjoy seeing without being worn off by their problems or issues.

He was able to make a 2 hours film that envelopes so much about drama, failure, communism, music and dedication that is quite impossible not to appreciate. This movie was quite a joy.
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simple and excellent
kobe824 November 2009
Warning: Spoilers
  • spoiler alert - The film can be simply categorised as an 'unlikely success story' packed with laughs generated by portraying Russians and life in Russia by overusing clichés. That may be, but it's so much more. It's funny and yet it's also incredibly sad (if you just think about things). The way french and Russian languages are nicely used (to a lot of comical effect), especially since many actors aren't Russian. Mélanie Laurent is better used in here than in Inglorious Basterds - and is surprisingly convincing. Most importantly it manages to not bore someone who's not even a casual listener of classical music with the final concerto. Quite the contrary. This has never happened to me while watching a movie, but during the long final Tchaikovski scene, there were some emotions stirred. Heck, I'm considered quite the cold 'bastard', but the music moved me in some way. Hard to explain.

Anyway, in short, it's a great movie, maybe easier to understand for an eastern-European.
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A Nutshell Review: The Concert
DICK STEEL3 April 2010
It was the screening of the Japanese film Nodame Cantabile earlier this year that piqued my interest in classical music being featured on film, but I suppose it's Le Concert that sealed the deal, although this European film did exude similar sensibilities like the Japanese one in having a conductor face insurmountable odds in turning around a makeshift, rag-tag 55 piece orchestra into one befitting of the name "Bolshoi", building up to a crescendo of a finale that just begs for an encore.

Nodame Cantabile provided a lot more romantic fluff and a quick 101 introduction to classical music and its famed composers, sort of like a McDonald's way of a fast-food sampling rich musical pieces, but it is Le Concert that persisted in wanting to use Tchaikovsky's The Violin Concerto, which is considered as one of the most difficult for the violin, to center this film around it, complete with a huge and critical backstory that makes this film well rounded, and in keeping you engaged especially with a tale about passion bordering on obsession, and the redemption of the sins of the earlier generation.

But don't get me wrong that the film is solely filled with such serious themes, as it's almost comedy all of the way to its centerpiece performance. We follow the story of Andrei Filipov (Aleksei Guskov), a one time hotshot conductor of the Bolshoi orchestra who was cut down to size, and now works as the janitor in the halls of his glorious past. He chances upon an opportunity from Paris which had invited the Bolshoi, but hence decides to hijack this opportunity, and to bring his own team of musicians on a trip that they would never forget. He's a man on a mission, and you just might wonder why he would want to take such a big risk, other than the fact that the current Bolshoi orchestra is playing like crap, but it adds to the mystery of the man, and the past that he's hiding from through the bottle.

Together with best friend Sacha (Dmitri Nazarov) who's now an ambulance driver, they go back to assemble a team comprising colleagues from the past, who have each moved onto different occupations, to convince them in joining their madcap mission - to showcase their talent once again after 30 years since their disbanding. The first component of the narrative is steeped in their mission to raise funds and sponsorship, and to seek the help of one time adversary Ivan Gavrilov (Valeriy Barinov), an ex-KGB agent who had a hand in their demise, to see them through this 3 day trip through deliberate misrepresentation because of his fluency in French.

But of course things aren't exactly the same as some 30 years back, and everyone has their own personal agenda in wanting to go to Paris, and more so when they cross borders through forged credentials, complete with a whole slew of comedy of errors when they touchdown in the City of Lights. Some may find it a tad offensive when the Russians are portrayed as boorish, from their drunk behaviour to their unreasonableness in demanding per diems immediately, for services yet to be rendered, or that Jewish Father-Son team who's more interested to fleece unsuspecting victims in their get-rich schemes.

Otherwise, director Radu Mihaileanu will keep you guessing just how this group under Filipov will succeed given their disastrous start pointing to an early debacle, and more so when star violinist Anne-Marie (Melanie Laurent of Inglourious Basterds fame) start to see through their ruse and refuse to take the stage with a bunch of unprofessionals. There's a little mystery here with regards to Anne-Marie's lineage that I have to applaud Mihaileanu for his red herrings and writers Hector Cabello Reyes and Thierry Degrandi for avoiding the obvious. Herein lies what would be a touching theme of music and harmony, of how it can bring out a unifying set of emotions, which leads on to pure aural bliss in the final act that one cannot help but to clap out loud at the end, as narrative threads get resolved, even though it resembled pretty much like a typical Japanese zero to hero tale.

The Concert won the Cesar for Best Music Written for a film and Best Sound, and it's not difficult to see why. With an excellent ensemble cast, sights, sounds and of course, Tchaiskovski, this is a film that succeeded in making classical music so integral to itself, without being too stifling for the masses to be a crowd pleaser. Highly recommended, and it goes into my books as one of the best this year!
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20 years post-1989 encapsulated in 2 hours
danielp-630-5919569 January 2010
The movie gives you an accurate feel for what it feels to struggle to survive and find your way in post-communist Eastern Europe. The tragedy of the past is still present and yet the human nature freed up from restrictions turns in completely unexpected directions. The only way to escape the day-time TV feel is to bring in plenty of sense of humor.

Radu Mihaileanu creates a master piece. I can vouch that it captures the crazy spirit of the last 20 years and the need to make sense of it all. The resolution of the movie is childish and so there were the hopes and dreams of us all in 1989.

The movie is a modern fairy tale told with harsh truths and love and compassion.
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An explosion of desperate comedy, melancholy drama and passion
Cliff Hanley21 July 2010
The Concert is a French/ Italian/Romanian/Belgian production shot in Moscow and Paris. The publicity blurb says that the musical finale is worth the ticket price alone, but I would say even reading the list of exotic names floating over the opening credits is worth a good percentage of the price.

We travel back 30 years to when Andrei, talented young conductor of the Bolshoi Orchestra, was humiliated and sacked by Breshnev for refusing to get rid of his Jewish musicians. Fast forward to the present, and we find him still working at the Bolshoi - but as a cleaner. One lucky day he finds himself alone with the office fax machine. What follows is an audacious plot to get his old sidekicks to Paris, using borrowed instruments, hired suits and fake passports, posing as the real Bolshoi for a concert at the Theatre du Chatelet. If you can imagine a story as full of colour and drama as the TV rock 'n' roll serial epic Tutti Frutti, jammed into just one cinema experience, this could be it. It's rare to see so many set pieces in one film.

I laughed out loud once or twice - and if you know what a grumpy old man I am you would realise what that means. I was also moved to tears, but I'm not telling you why. That would spoil it all - just saying that under its layer of manic fast-cut comedy the story carries a deep, dark and passionate secret which gradually reveals itself as the comedy peels off. The music is, I have to add, beautiful - whether it's Roma dance jigs in the street or Tchaikovsky in the concert hall. Bring a hanky!
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food for the soul
bradutb-819-59283216 August 2010
This movie goes a long way to heal my nostalgia for the good films of old. A lot of the "modern" eastern European movies try very hard to be so soul searching, so psycho-dramatic, as if they are on a mission to turn and twist their bewildered audience in the hope of some intellectual and metaphysical gratification (or maybe just the hope of a Palme D'Or). Radu Mihaileanu is the master of story telling, touching souls in the best way possible, really. Yes you can pick faults, like with most movies, but if you really pay attention and let you and your feelings move with the flow of the movie, you will be in for a great soul experience. The inaccuracies, the factual errors won't matter anymore. What it does matter is that the author is pretty much exact in retrieving the atmosphere of an era which some of us actually experienced.
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Bravo bravo bravoooo!
Marion881 January 2010
This is a gem of a movie. Do not miss it! Amazing rarely seen Russian actors, hilarious comedy, emotions by the bucket, tears, sublime music, tension, suspense, it's been a while since I saw anything like it. I was weary that the director, prize winner of art-house fame, would make a slow pompous contemplative film. At the contrary Le Concert is a fast moving beautifully shot comedy about music, artists, Russia, Paris and communism. The director makes the actors brilliant, even average French actors like Miou Miou or the young soloist whose name I forgot. Do not wait for the DVD: it's worth watching on a big screen with a loud digital surround to enjoy the violins and the magnificent soundtrack. Bring your tissues you will laugh and cry, a great night out guaranteed!!!
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A Film not only for Movie Lovers, but Mainly for Music Lovers
Claudio Carvalho31 May 2011
In Moscow, the former conductor of the Bolshoi Orchestra Andrey Simonovich Filipov (Alexeï Guskov) is presently the janitor of the theater. Andrey felt in disgrace with the Communist Party thirty years ago for protecting the Jewish musicians and was no longer allowed to conduct an orchestra. One night, Andrey reads a just-received fax while cleaning the office of the Bolshoi's director Leonid Vinichenko (Valentin Teodosiu) and he hides the document. He learns that the Châtelet Theater in Paris has just invited the Bolshoi Orchestra to perform a concert in Paris within two weeks. Andrey shows the fax to his friend and musician Aleksandr 'Sasha' Abramovich Grosman (Dimitri Nazarov) that drives an ambulance and he decides to reunite fifty-five former musicians of Bolshoi to travel to Paris and perform The Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35, by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. He invites the Communist leader and former KGB Ivan Gavrilov (Valeri Barinov) to manage the orchestra and he requests the solo of the prominent musician Anne- Marie Jacquet (Mélanie Laurent) and to stay in Paris for three days.

When they arrive in Paris, Andrey meets Anne-Marie while the musicians wander in the city, partying and raising money. The unprofessionalism of the Russian musicians forces Anne-Marie to call off the concert; but Sasha convinces her to come to the theater. Meanwhile Andrey grieves the incident with the violinist Lea thirty years ago and hides a secret from Anne-Marie. What is the connection between Andrey and Anne-Marie?

"Le Concert" is a film not only for movie lovers, but mainly for music lovers. This dramatic comedy tells an adorable bitter-sweet story about losses and second chance in life through music, or better, the wonderful and awesome Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto.

The director Radu Mihaileanu, from "Train de Vie", once again plays with tragic situations, using a witty screenplay with charismatic characters and making laugh and cry out of joy. I have seen the sequence of the concert at least eight consecutive times, full of emotion and with tears in my eyes. This is one of the most beautiful and touching climax I have ever seen in a film.

The cast is fantastic and Mélanie Laurent is awesome, giving credibility to her violin solo during the presentation. Last but not the least, this film should have been at least nominated to the Oscar. My vote is ten.

Title (Brazil): "O Concerto" ("The Concert" – not available on DVD or Blu-Ray)

Note: On 10 August 2011, I saw this outstanding film again on DVD.
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Smiling and shedding a tear
gallateea-110 January 2010
I received warm recommendations before going to see "Le concert" and, as a consequence, was prepared to like it.

I must admit that hearing one of my favourite classical pieces at the beginning induced a positive outlook; however, as I am rather critical, this would not have made up for a boring experience afterwards.

Yet the rest was delightful, and there was no moment left for fatigue or dissatisfaction. Those clichés criticized by some are still well understood in Eastern Europe; as to the exacerbated kitsch - it can be found today, with no difficulty, within the society I live in.

The plot may have seemed straightforward, but a whirlwind of colour, wonderful music, sadness and humour carried me swiftly to the end and to the applause of the audience in the cinema.

It may not be the best film I have seen, but it certainly possesses the "je ne sais quoi" that makes you want to see it again, that makes you feel different for having experienced it. And for this, I think "Le Concert" should be accepted and loved just as it is.
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wonderful movie
bughitza17 December 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I guess is a wonderful movie. The central piece of music (Concerto, Tchaikovsky) is a very touching moment itself and combined with the story it make a very good-to-cry moment. It is true, for an east European viewer it is more easy to understand because of the political issues and the specific Balkan/Slav spirit. Guskov is a great actor and Melanie Laurent is very feminine, a perfect role for her.

I really recommend to see this movie, because the equilibrium between humor and drama is very good and, I think, the music is well selected.

I was in a Romanian cinema and at the end of this movie all the audience applauded. And I guarantee you that after watching the movie you will want to hear a Tchaikovsky play. Great movie!
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A Harmonious Confession
David Ferguson8 August 2010
Greetings again from the darkness. Typically when a film is billed is a "French comedy", we can expect a farcical good time with self-centered characters who flitter their days away. Director Radhu Mihaileanu delivers something completely different and unexpected.

Two really fine performances drive this story. Aleksei Guskov plays Andrei Filipov, the one time conductor of the Bolshoi orchestra, who lost his beloved job because he employed Jewish musicians during the harshest of Communist days. Nearly three decades later he finds himself as the janitor in the same hall where he once conducted. Because of this, an opportunity presents itself that allows him to seek redemption in his own life, and that of another.

Melanie Laurent, who was so outstanding as the theatre manager with a nasty plan in Inglourious Basterds, plays Anne-Marie Jacquet - a violin virtuoso who Filipov demands to have in his orchestra for a show in Paris. Ms. Laurent displays tremendous screen presence with minimal dialogue. She is quite a talent and I hope she spends more time in the U.S. making movies! The comedy portion of the film occurs as Filipov frantically assembles his orchestra from all over the city. They have each gone their separate ways and some no longer even have their own instruments. Of course, none of the musical portion is believable, but as I said, this is a story of redemption.

The film climaxes with a wonderful onstage performance combined with a startling montage that really puts the details into the story that's been skirted for the first 90 minutes. It is a wonderful ending to a decent film that really had the potential to be amazing.
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too explicit, yet a moving film
dromasca7 August 2010
This is the first film of Radu Mihaileanu that really did it to me. It is moving, I resonated with the subject, I laughed when it was funny and I was close to tears when it meant to be emotional. Yet, as his previous films, it is not a masterpiece just a good film to remember. Which is no small matter either.

Mihaileanu's previous films were each of them based on original and different ideas. in each of those the ideas hold above the execution. 'Train de vie' was one of the first films to deal with Holocaust from a comic perspective, and maybe the most interesting idea of all, better even as Begnini's maybe. 'Les pygmees de Carlo' dealt with the communication between cultures in an unusual way. 'Vas, viens, et deviens' is the only movie until now to deal with the Ethiopian immigration to Israel. Here, in 'Le Concert' two main ideas dominate the action. One is about the new culture of vulgarity and mediocrity that dominates the life after the fall of the Communism. The main hero (wonderfully acted by Aleksei Gluskov) is a great conductor. His life and career were broken during the Communist rule for having opposed the regime of Brezhnev. Yet, the change of the social order did not put him back in place, as the collaborators of the old regime and the new oligarchs took the place of the rulers, siding the real values. The second idea is that music redeems, transcends politics, and is worth any risks and sacrifices.

'Le Concert' is correspondingly divided into two parts. The first one is a brilliant comedy, one of the best that I have seen lately. It is based on stereotypes one may argue, the stereotype of the Russians and French, of the Jews and Gypsies, of musicians and impresarios, Communists and oligarchs, but in these case they work, and the result is true and funny. The Russian orchestra of former musicians, sided away by the new times makes it to Paris under the label of the Bolshoi to give the concert of their lives, the proof that Tchaikovsky, and Russian music, and value are still there despite all. Then the second part begins, the one in which all becomes personal, Then the second part begins, the one in which all becomes personal, with a seemingly love story which turns to be something completely different, a much more dramatic story in which music is not only revenge but also personal redemption, is not only survival but also coming from beyond the graves of a tragic history.

This is were the strength and the weakness of Radu Mihaileanu's art meet. All the film converges to the final scene, the one of the concert in Paris, we know it from the beginning. All the explanation will be present in that scene, and this is the bet and the risk of any music film in the history of cinema. The result is only a partial win. Tchaikovsky's Concerto for Violin provides the appropriate background, and the emotional result is immediate. The doubts start after the screening ends. The situation is certainly less than credible, from an intrigue and musical point of view. Mihaileanu's execution is too direct, he plays too much on short term emotions, tears are too apparent. He has huge ideas, and one day he may turn them into one or more great movies. 'Le Concert' is too explicit, it lacks the patience and the sophistication to be that one .
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You will not be disappointed
onehipdad17 May 2011
I've wanted to see this ever since the Oscar nominations came out and I browsed the entries for BFF over breakfast - it caught my eye then as an appealing premise. I was rewarded finally on a transatlantic flight to the UK last Sunday. Though the screen was small, the noise suppression headset provided an audio banquet of delight and yes, I had several moments of laugh-out-loud appreciation for this highly-entertaining film. I've always been a sucker for Russian literature & music; I've long been amazed that some of the most powerfully impressive art has come from one of the harshest environments and span of history (indeed, I'm a third of the way thru The Brothers Karamazov right now and I haven't touched Dostoyevsky in 40 years, since high school). The movie is a balance of emotion - it touches and massages every one, with humor, sympathy, concern, disappointment, frustration, anxiety, and the music, always the music. Seeing a familiar face again (Ms. Laurent) was an unexpected bonus, and her appeal for me was the same I realize now as it was in Tarantino's film, as some unfortunate's daughter, and you can't help but desire for her comfort and happiness. Best movie of the year, so far. Oh, and I'm downloading the soundtrack now from Amazon.
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Historical accuracy anyone?
Pietro7 February 2010
Warning: Spoilers
This is a funny movie, provided that you enter the cinema with enough common sense to discern the stereotype and the historical falsification from the truth.

I mean, I know very little of Russian/Soviet history, but as soon as the plot involved Breznev sending hebrew russians into Gulags in 1980, my internal "historical falsification alarm" started ringing very loudly. I mean, I was 12 in 1980 and never heard of Gulags going on by then, (and I live in a NATO country).

I understand that the writer/director knows this too and takes for granted that it is such a blatant falsification that the audience will take it as a farce, but I am afraid that actually the average TV-brainwashed 20-year-old viewer with no critical sense will exit the cinema thinking: "see, my prime minister was right... communists were still eating babies not longer than 30 years ago".

Also you need to suspend your sense of disbilief.. I know little of how to play classical music but I guess that even if you take the best players in the world and have them play one piece without even having had a single rehearse before, the results would be terrible. Beside this, this is a funny movie with good acting and directing, and a wonderful piece of music at the end, I am going to listen to more Tchaikovsky in the future!
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Complete, superb!
Oli B22 February 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Best movie I've seen in months! This movie has just about everything a movie needs: humor, drama, directing, education. Beautifully realized, it contains the drama of the eastern European countries, some clichés about the ethnics from this area, and gives a good lesson about classic music and specifically Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto. Many movies have been made about the eastern block and the communist era. This one makes a difference in that, although it reveals a sensitive story about that unfortunate era, it has so much to tell on the side. The music is also marvelous, it almost made me cry. Maybe because I am a classic music fan, but this movie won't let anyone untouched! Very well scripted, although it is in fact a commercial movie, with the Hollywood-style plot, it has, due to the direction, the art movie feeling. A movie worth watching.
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It's full of clichés which are taken by many of the audience as a truth
Yuliya Tutova19 January 2010
Unfortunately in France it was widely announced as a drama, but in fact it turned into a farce, even a kitsch sometimes. Good for those who could understand the humor. Dialogs as for a native Russian speaker are weird, nobody construct the phrases like that, looks like something got lost in translation. The story is artificial. Also Russian actors are really far from their best roles. The French part of the story seemed to me to be better, also the stereotypes were not that much exaggerated. After all Music saved the movie, as for me. So, i recommend to watch it as a kind of fantasy farce (something like a bad done Kusturica) with a brilliant piece of music at the end.
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Off an on, but very funny
resafuchs13 November 2009
Warning: Spoilers
My Russian friend begged me for some days: see "Le Concert". Yesterday we watched it in a quite big cinema in Paris (Saint-Germain-de-Prés). In the beginning i was surprised about the genre. I didn't expect a comedy. I worried about the humor,agent for introducing the plot to the audience. To me the screenplay seemed like a gloss, which is almost cliché-like kitschy. There are certain scenes like that: especially the simple description of Russian. Very aiming to make viewers laugh. But getting used to this rather simple characterization of the Russians, the harmless esprit seduced me and threw me into the story and its aesthetics. The climax: a Russian marriage in an industrial stadium. This scene is just perfect and precisely watched. At the end of "Le Concert" the audience is forced not to laugh but to cry. The melange of music and sentimental plot is pushing hart to touch the audience.
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Pure cliché
Air747 March 2010
Pure cliché...from the beginning to the end.

Not really a disappointment, being somewhat aware of Mihaileanu's obsessive religious egocentricity, but this one is really embarrassing on all levels, for those who have a clue of Eastern Europe, including Russia. Looks like being made for people who never went there, and/or who only want to visit the place (socially, culturally speaking) via the clichés one can build around it.

Mihaileanu manages to miss both funny and sad parts of the movie, by overloading both with clichés, giving the impression of assuming a completely uneducated public.

Music kind of saves the movie, but that's thanks to Tchaikovski and the interpreters of the movie's soundtrack (Budapest Symphony).
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Nothing can save this slapstick farce and sentimental tale of rag-tag orchestra con
Turfseer5 November 2016
Warning: Spoilers
If farce mixed with slapstick and a heavy dose of sentimentality is your thing, than check out The Concert by Romanian born French director Radu Mihaileanu. The premise is so absurd that only those with the most meager of critical faculties will enjoy it.

The protagonist is Andrei Filipov (Alexei Guskov), who was the world famous Bolshoi conductor who lost his job by supporting his mostly Jewish orchestra members after they were all forced out during a purge instituted by Soviet premier Brezhnev in 1980.

Flash forward to the present and Andrei now can only dream of his glory days while toiling as a janitor at the Bolshoi; he ends up intercepting a fax sent by Paris' Theatre du Chatelet begging the Bolshoi management to bring the orchestra to Paris as a fill-in for the last minute- cancellation of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Well yes it's supposed to be a farce but even the most exaggerated of conceits must operate within some kind of credible context. Here, the context is too absurd to be taken seriously. You can probably guess what Andrei's next move is—gather together his former band of musicians (now a motley crew of low-lifes, scrounging for their next day's ruble) and arrange for all of them to fly to Paris, and pawn themselves off as the real Bolshoi musicians.

Andrei, along with his buddy, the portly and amiable Sacha (Dmitry Nazarov), end up relying on the former Bolshoi manager, Ivan (Valeri Barinov), a former KGB apparatchik, who speaks French and negotiates with the head of the Theare du Chatelet, to bring Andrei's long out of the limelight misfits to Paris. The joke of Ivan, attempting to revive a Communist Congress in Paris, grows tiresome early on.

The conscripted musicians all turn out to be stereotypes of one kind or another—from their money grubbing demands for pay immediately and their desire to party (instead of rehearsing), up until minutes before the concert is supposed to begin.

Meanwhile Andrei has decided to perform Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto, performed by the young French violinist Anne-Marie Jacquet (Melanie Laurent), who has never played this Tchaikovsky piece before. Since the farce and slapstick fail to evoke many laughs, director Mihaileanu suddenly shifts gears and attempts to evoke the tears.

It turns out that Anne-Marie is the daughter of two of the Bolshoi musicians who were sent to a gulag in Siberia and Andrei uses the promise of disclosure of this information, to entice Jacquet back to play at the concert, after she insists she won't play under any circumstances.

The absurdity of the script reaches its apotheosis when the orchestra begins playing without rehearsal and predictably plays completely out of tune. But the great Jacquet plays so beautifully that Andrei's motley crew rises to the occasion and wows the audience to the point that they're hired for additional engagements across the continent, for the upcoming year.

While most of the actors do their best with such thin material, in the end the project cannot be saved. Sentimental, with few laughs, The Concert gives the classical music world a bad name along with its cinematic counterpart.
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This is one film you must recommend to friends; good story, terrific performances
John Raymond Peterson5 December 2011
Warning: Spoilers
This movie is rich with characters who you will find endearing, funny, soulful and sad; it has it all and the actors leave no one wanting. I was familiar with Mélanie Laurent and François Berléand and you are as well if you've seen "Inglorious Basterds" (Mélanie Laurent was the theater owner and the little girl that got away from the SS) and the "Transporter" trilogy (in which François Berléand plays the French inspector Tarconi). The Russian actors, most of the cast that is, were simply superb; Dmitri Nazarov and Aleksey Guskov are the principal Russian actors and they are brilliant. They make you believe their characters. In this story, you have exuberant, colorful artists cast aside over the years but still oozing with talent their younger Bolshoi replacements can't match. You have a maestro with a deep dark secret which probably drove him to alcoholism but he now has an opportunity to make things right and make the music he has longed for years to make.

I'm not going to write the storyline since the IMDb one should suffice and won't spoil the surprise ending; I will however say that from the simple premise of that storyline, emerges a wealth of small stories all coming together to build the climactic ending like that of Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture; the concert at the end is one hell of a beautiful metaphor. The movie's title could not have been anything but 'The Concert'; the Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35, which comprises the ending scenes, manages to feature the best display of the film's superb editing and wonderful cinematography, not to mention the impeccable directing. When Mélanie Laurent is playing her solo in the end, a tear of joy trickles down her cheek, then a small torrent of tears slide in that same path as she continues playing, for reasons you will understand and feel as well at that moment. Perhaps your eyes will betray your well hidden sensitive side as it did me, because of the tragedy that connects the maestro and the soloist; if you love music and are a sucker for well orchestrated happy endings you may well be overcome with joy. I watched the original bilingual (Russian-French) version but I trust the English version will be just as terrific; subtitles are easily followed, thus should not hinder your viewing pleasure since it did not mine. Recommend it to your friends; I wholeheartedly do.
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Too sentimental, too untrue
alidoro22 April 2010
A film that is sort of a melodramatic farce, with farce characters and aiming to make the audience laugh and sob. In is full of tricks, cheap and too evident. ¿An orchestra and a soloist playing at the Chatelet without a rehearsal? False. And finally it is so, so predictable. The best in it, the interpretation. But with a false story, a crooked script, it still may work as sort of evasion, easy entertainment. Beautiful shots,glow, fine actors playing. Not enough IMO. Four stars, and it may be too many... The mixture between farce and drama doesn't work very well. There was once a great film about a proscribed conductor, with John Gielguld, named "The conductor", No false comedy, no cheap dream. This film is just the opposite
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Excellent movie, an exciting combination of sound and story telling
asaf-meller15 August 2010
This was one of the most exciting movies I saw this year.

the contrast of the classical world as we think we know and the one that is shown is uplifting.

The way the movie builds its way to the concert took me through entertaining and exciting moments using the complicated relations between the characters and combining it carefully with the delicate story.

the music in the movie ranges from classical to gypsy music which gave me great joy.

In fact, its not only the music that has that range, its also the atmosphere of the movie that has that range that rocked me as a viewer.

A very recommended movie, for its story and its music that is combined so well together.
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An uneven film suspended between two clever ideas
Framescourer6 January 2012
A comedy that is dragged down by its own excessive sentiment, The Concert has two solid tent poles of conceit: that in a post-Communist Russia, a celebrated conductor should be a cleaner, and consequently be in a position to capitalise on an intercepted invitation to tour with his old, superior orchestra; and that the denouement should be shown intercut with the eponymous Concert, aggregating economy and impact.

It's a shame that in between the film relies on cheap jokes and stereotypes. The worst of these - and it's bad - is that a Jewish father and son almost miss the final event as they are trying to make money on the streets of Paris. All sorts of situations are invented to create drama and then conveniently forgotten about when the story needs to move on. The 'getting the band back together' montage is the least believable in this line of pockmarked plotting, with all the similarly underemployed former musicians suddenly finding their instruments and demonstrating their proficiency on them without moving from their place of work.

There's an interesting (if underdeveloped) political message in the film - the socialist nostalgics and the self-important, new-money oligarchs are treated as two sides of the same moron. Music is the great winner... or is it? The final scene has the protagonist musicians simply behaving the same boorish manner as their antagonists. In fact music isn't really a great winner as music films are almost impossibly tricky. Aleksey Guskov hasn't the second idea how to conduct but luckily his bear-like companion Sasha (Dmitri Nazarov) seems more likely as a brilliant, impetuous cellist. Mélanie Laurent fulfils her remit of looking pretty. Too many longueurs, partly because of the confused, oversold but inconclusive reconciliation subplot. 3/10
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bookster25 November 2009
Very mixed... The director apparently couldn't make up his mind whether to make a goofy East-European Kusturica-like comedy, or a high-brow movie of redemption through music. So he made both at the same time.

There are a lot of jokes for the very low brow, and way too many clichés and moments where I had to cover my eyes in dismay at the horribly bad taste (the Russian mobster wedding, the gypsy, Russian & Jewish clichés, the Russian mafioso's mother etc).

Melanie Laurent saves the day, though. And in the end it does come out at the other end as a story of redemption through music, but I just wish the director had chosen to tell it with delicate humor instead...
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