Saturday, September 19, 2009

"Er war ein Mann der Frauen, Frauen liebten seinen Punk"

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the release of Milos Forman's Amadeus. Head on over to Edward Copeland on Film to read my retrospective. "But I can't wait, at least give us a lede!" OK, then.

The tragedy of Antonio Salieri is the driving force behind Miloš Forman’s film version of Peter Shaffer’s seminal play. Here is a pious man, in complete devotion to what he believes to be a God of Grace and Mercy. Salieri has rejected almost all of life’s earthly pleasures, has offered God his undying love, “his industry, his deepest humility,” and, of course, his chastity. All he’s ever asked for in return is a soupçon of that divine Grace to manifest itself in the form of talent. God, however, has picked as a favourite not Salieri, but instead a vulgar ninny, who is not only anathema to all that Salieri believes in, but, through whom, his lack of talent is only made more explicit. God has given Salieri deranged ambition for, and an infinite love of, music, but withheld from him the elements required to realise it. This contumelious God has shared with the world a part of himself, all the while making a mockery of his faithful servant Salieri by rejecting his piety. Knowing his predilection for irony, there’s no wonder Peter Shaffer called his play not Mozart, not even Salieri, but Amadeus.

To read the rest of the article at Edward Copeland on Film, click here.


Adam Zanzie said...

Amadeus is one of my favorite films of the last thirty years. Definately proof that a biopic can make a great motion picture. I've only seen the PG-rated version, however; still haven't seen the R-rated version where Mozart's wife bares her breasts to Salieri.

Did you see Foreman's most recent film, Goya's Ghosts (2006)? It's pretty bad, actually. Javier Bardhem, Stellan Skarksgard, Michael Londsdale and Natalie Portman are all just fine, and Randy Quaid does a nice tongue-in-cheek impression of the French king, but the performances are the only true good thing about the movie. The screenplay has a messy narrative, and the Inquisition torture sequences seem like they're thrown in more for entertainment value than for powerful dramatic effect. And what is the movie about? Portman's long-lost daughter or Goya's paintings?

At any rate, I hear Foreman is planning a new film about Neville Chamberlain and the Munich Peace Conference. Maybe that will be an interesting comeback.

Ali Arikan said...

I haven't seen Goya's Ghosts, but I think Man on the Moon is a gem of a movie -- and ever so slightly underrated (and most definitely forgotten).

A Forman film about Munich? I'm sold.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Gonna get a chance to see the director's cut on the New Beverly big screen next week! Stuart Gordon is curating it as part of his series of favorites.

Also: I’ve bestowed upon you a very special honor, Ali. Come on over and see what it is!

Ali Arikan said...

Dennis, that sounds like it will be a lot of fun. The next time I am over, we must go to the New Beverly!

Off to your place pronto, sir; and thank you!