The Concert - The Movie of the Summer is here
It is hard to find a good movie in this sea of mediocre-or-worse summer movies. But The Concert by Radu Mihaleanu is a true summer delight. After his last film Live and Become was a heavy handed epic, in this lite, yet poignant film you can truly see masterful work. The story is of a former Russian conductor who attempts to bring together his pre-fall of the Soviet Union for one big concert in France.
This film could be The Full Monty of this season, with similar charming characters in an all-or-bust situation. The film reaches the "everyman" with no major surprises -- even the classical music is all recognizable and approachable. But The Concert has a deeper element. It is one of the first films of its kind to deal both with the present affects of the fall of communism and with the actual traumas of the communist era.
One of the most telling moments of the film is a montage of the conductor played by the wonderful Alexei Guskov, attempting to recruit his old player. Each is shot playing his or her instrument at their new profession. Cab drivers and other working class folks, pulling out their hidden instruments and showing that they still got it. The film explores comically the colorful and tragic characters as they attempt to join the new world in Paris. Beyond this social phenomenon, the film also tackles the mistreatment of Jews in the former Soviet Union. The Orchestra was broken up for refusing to dismiss its Jewish players. But beyond this, the movie touches the audience with music. As predictable as The Karate Kid learning to wax on and off, this Orchestra makes classical music accessible as they have to learn to play together as one and recapture their greatness.