Modest by intent, The Maestro gives the spotlight to the true talent behind the scenes, whose passion for art and pursuit of excellence have played a key role in the history of cinematic arts, but often received little to no recognition because film credit was taken by others.
Florentine composer and legendary Hollywood music teacher Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (Xander Berkeley) composed scored over 200 films, and mentored, tutored, and influenced the biggest names in Post-WWII cinematic music composition, his list of pupils including John Williams, Henry Mancini, Andre' Previn, Nelson Riddle, Herman Stein, Marty Paich, and Jerry Goldsmith.
Most of Mario's scores in the 1940's and 1950's were credited to others as was common practice in that era.
At the center of the plot, is a paternal relationship that develops between Mario and one of his most talented but lesser known pupils Jerry Herst (Mackenzie Astin).
Director Adam Cushman and first-time screenwriter C.V. Herst provide an intimate look into career and life decisions each man makes to maintain their passion and dedication to music composition while navigating the Post-War Hollywood studio machine.
Cushman succeeds by keeping the focus completely away from the big names that would have resulted in this film being another Hollywood biopic that exploits famous names to succeed.
Instead, 'The Maestro' is a memorable, wonderfully understated and intimate film, with superb acting, and earns my highest recommendation as one of the best films in 2018.
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