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another Chopin movie

Discussion in 'Useful resources' started by pianolady, May 14, 2011.

  1. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    This one is a little different, as it is based on his actual letters. I'm thinking of ordering the DVD, but I wonder if anyone here has seen it yet and knows if it's any good...

    http://www.chopinletters.com/index.html
     
  2. musical-md

    musical-md New Member

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    The trailer was both interesting and very high quality. The pianist is Paul Siwko-Bajon, and per his bio, he's got what it takes. I think I'll put this on my wish list. Thanks for the heads up.
     
  3. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Yes, but I hope the whole DVD doesn't play out so dark and somber like how the mood is in the trailer. Some of Chopin's letters are quite funny and also some others are downright snide and sarcastic (why I love him so...).
     
  4. 88man

    88man Member Piano Society Artist

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    The opening reads "Based on a true story." I thought most of his letters were to be destroyed by his sister?... Indeed this is a more nostalgic-paradise lost kind of portrayal - I am not sure if they're over-reaching with the sinister exile motif. I don't have this movie in my collection. It doesn't look as hopeless as all the "Chopin" movies I've seen so far. But then again, it seems to be making historical parallels more than making a biographical account of Chopin. I wonder if any of you liked the movie?...
     
  5. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I don't think anyone here has seen it yet.
     
  6. 88man

    88man Member Piano Society Artist

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    Pianolady wrote:
    I just bought it. I'll post my thoughts on this thread soon after I see it.

    I am not sure if you've seen other music/composer movies: Some good one's I've seen are:

    The Life of Verdi (1984, Kultur) - Epic Story! Personal favorite!
    Immortal Beloved - Excellent Personal favorite!
    The Red Violin - Fictitious but Awesome! Personal favorite!
    Harvest of Sorrow - Tony Palmer's Film About Rachmaninov - mostly from letters with historical footage.
    The Desire of Love - Chopin. ~ tolerable.
    Impromptu - Stereotypical depiction of Chopin.
    A Song To Remember (1945) - the most notable of Chopin movies for over 65 years. A bit cliche.
    Song Without End: The story of Franz Liszt - From director of Song of Love done 12 years later. Sound tracked by Bolet - one of my top 5 pianists!
    Amadeus - Over-rated and makes a mockery of his greatness IMHO.
    Wagner - The Complete Epic (1983, Kultur) - Drags on in the beginning. A fine performance by Richard Burton.
    In Search of Beethoven - decent account, OK.
    In Search of Mozart - ditto

    I've seen others, like the BBC and Kultur stuff, Tchaikovsky, Bach, etc., but I sold them since they were either lacking in content, or outright dubious, so I didn't list them.
     
  7. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Oh good - I look forward to your review!

    Regarding the other movies you listed:


    The Life of Verdi (1984, Kultur) - Epic Story! Personal favorite! I don't know this one!

    Immortal Beloved - Excellent Personal favorite! Mine too!

    The Red Violin - Fictitious but Awesome! Personal favorite! Oh yes, I saw this a long time ago and remember I liked it very much!

    Harvest of Sorrow - Tony Palmer's Film About Rachmaninov - mostly from letters with historical footage. I don't know this one

    The Desire of Love - Chopin. ~ tolerable. I have this one too, but I'm not crazy about it. I think this is the one where they play that one piece over and over again...

    Impromptu - Stereotypical depiction of Chopin.I have this too and may be the only person who actually likes this movie.

    A Song To Remember (1945) - the most notable of Chopin movies for over 65 years. A bit cliche.I have this - fun to see the 'old' Hollywood.

    Song Without End: The story of Franz Liszt - From director of Song of Love done 12 years later. Sound tracked by Bolet - one of my top 5 pianists!I don't know this one - will have to get it!

    Amadeus - Over-rated and makes a mockery of his greatness IMHO.I know, but I still liked this movie a lot!

    Wagner - The Complete Epic (1983, Kultur) - Drags on in the beginning. A fine performance by Richard Burton.Don't know this one.

    In Search of Beethoven - decent account, OK.
    In Search of Mozart - ditto I have both of these too - and found them interesting.
     
  8. RSPIll

    RSPIll New Member

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    I remember a PBS movie years ago (I was living in Denver so it must have been the mid-70's) had a bio-pic thingy about George Sand. In the process it did spend a lot of time on Chopin (more than one episode). The most prominent piece throughout was the first Etude in C major.

    Also, in the 80's or early 90's, PBS had a show called "The Joy of Bach". It wasn't a bio-pic as such but it had biographic moments and was fun to watch. I remember Rosalyn Turek doing the Gminor Gigue from the "English Suite" of the same name. She played the first part on first Clavichord (I believe) then Harpsichord. The second on Piano then a Sythesizer (a Polymoog, I believe, state of the art.) I think that in her way she was trying to get back at Wanda for the "She can play Bach her way, I'll play it HIS" statement.

    I sort of liked "Amadeus" when it first came out -- other than the laugh -- but after reading more recent biographies, I realized how historically bad that it was. The trouble is that it perpetrated myths that were even presented as fact by music instructors in both high school and college ("When I think back on all the crap I learned in high school, it's a wonder I can think at all.).

    Another PBS movie that came on about 2 + years ago was about Beethoven. It's main purpose was to show that his "Immortal Beloved" was actually his sister-in-law.

    Then there was "An Affair to Remember" which was about -- no wait, that is about two people who were supposed to meet at the top of the Empire State Building and an old lady in France who played with arthritic fingers -- never mind.

    Scott
     
  9. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Paul Simon.... :lol:

    I have not seen that George Sand movie, but I'd like to. And Beethoven's "Immortal Beloved" was his sister? Ewwww!!! I'm just going to ignore that movie and stick with the other movie, the one I like...

    Ahhh, "An Affair to Remember". Love that movie. Also "Sleepless in Seattle" which has parts of "An Affair to Remember" in it. Now I feel like curling up in front of my fireplace and watching all these old movies....
     
  10. RSPIll

    RSPIll New Member

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    Not piano music, but a movie is on Ovation right now about the creation of Gilbert and Sullivan's "Mikado". It has Jim Broadbent, Allan Corduner, and Lesley Manville and was made in 1999.

    Scott
     
  11. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    You're probably talking about "Topsy Turvy". I started watching it one time, but didn't finish it. Another good 'music' movie is "Brassed Off" made in 1996.
     
  12. RSPIll

    RSPIll New Member

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    Yep, it's "Topsy-Turvy". Would have known that if I had pushed my "info" button on the remote. I haven't gotten into it, it is acting as background noise with an occasional Gilbert and Sullivan tune. Just being too lazy to put some music on the computer.

    Scott
     
  13. 88man

    88man Member Piano Society Artist

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    CHOPIN LETTERS: A Review

    A Review of the film Chopin Letters:

    Chopin Letters is documentary film focusing on establishing historical parallels of Poland during 1830s and 1980s. After the historical prologue, the film then shifts to 1830 with the reading of several Chopin letters. Clearly a one man show, Paul Siwko-Bajon is the pianist, narrator, director, and producer. I applaud him for his artistic, pianistic, and cinematographic talents. The movie is a narration of letters with scenes of Żelazowa Wola, Warsaw, and Brochów, Poland, nostalgic images that are familiar to both artists. This film is unlike any other Chopin movie in comparison.

    The mood of the film is introspective and solemn throughout. The use of diffusion soft focus and vignetting filters give a dreamy, old world, nostalgic flavor. Since there is no dramatic plot, it can get rather redundant after a while: Chopin's piano music is interspersed between one letter after another.

    The film is a chronological selection of letters written by Chopin to his family and friends between 1830 and 1849. One senses how much he misses his family, friends, and his Polish culture. We sense how his love of Poland influenced his music in his life of exile. These letters run the gamut of subjects from Christmas plans, to letters to Ludwika, his sister, and to simple conversation. The letters to best friend, Titus, and teacher, Elsner, are informative, but Chopin doesn't reveal much about his artistry here, which usually was the case in general. One can gain a better understanding of Chopin's art through the journal of Eugene Delacroix in his conversations with the composer.

    The prologue tries modestly to suggest that Polish artists along with Bajon were forced to live in exile as did Chopin 150 years earlier. I think Bajon over-reaches the boundaries because the plight of Chopin in 1830 to seek exile out of Poland was a much more bleak and somber with an impending Russian invasion. Not to mention Chopin's mortal illness which plagued him for the rest of his life. Despite the severe economic and political hardships in 1981, it's over-stretching to compare the events which took place 150 years earlier. Further reading into the biography of Paul Siwko-Bajon doesn't reveal a life of the archetypal exiled figure. After 1981, he concertized extensively throughout Europe, including Russia, and participated in several TV broadcasts. He then relocated to the U.S.A. to complete his Masters and Doctorate in Music at Indiana University Jacob School of Music. He is currently on the faculty and engaged in more research on Chopin.

    Less the efforts to compare the life of exile, one can certainly appreciate the film on the merits of the artistry of Paul Siwko-Bajon, the mindset of Chopin's letters, the genius of Chopin's music permeating through the entire film, and scenes of nostalgia indigenous to both artists.

    George
     
  14. musical-md

    musical-md New Member

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    George,
    Thank you for your considered and insightful review.
    Eddy
     
  15. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I thank you too, George! :D I'm not sure I will actually purchase that DVD. I already have Chopin's Letters (the book), so I've probably read all the ones in the movie already. I will, however, purchase that Brahms movie. Will let you know my opinion on it once I have viewed it.

    An interesting point you make about Delacroix's journals. Several years ago I started delving deeper in my Chopin research and was just starting to get into Delacroix in order to find out more about Chopin, but something happened in my life which halted my progress and I never continued down that path. Maybe one day I'll look again at Delacroix. I know that every time I go to the Chicago Art Institute, I always go to the couple of Delacroix paintings that are there and I think of Chopin.
     
  16. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I just ordered the Brahms movie - can't wait to see it! :)
     
  17. 88man

    88man Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thank you, Eddy. Nice to make your acquaintance. Great movies are nearly impossible to come by these days.

    Thank you too, Monica, the anticipation of watching a great movie in one's home theater is almost better than going to the movies!... I have The Kings Speech, Tron, and Billy Joel: Live at Shea stadium on order - just to mix it up a little. :wink: Let us know what you think of the Schumann/Brahms movie...

    Pianolady wrote:
    Yup, next summer in Paris at the Louvre and Delacroix museum - Hommage a Liszt is now on display! :D
     
  18. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Plus, you get to watch in your pj's! :D

    The Kings Speech is a good movie. And okay, I just got an email that my movie has shipped so I'll get it in a couple days.

    Oh yeah....I'm going there :shock: ....still hard for me to believe. :)
     

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