The Concert (7/10)
by Tony Medley
Run time 107 minutes.
OK for children.
Andreϊ Filipov (Alexeϊ
Guskov) is a janitor at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow, but thirty years
ago he was a celebrated prodigy, done in by an avid Communist, Ivan
Gavrilov (Valery Barinov), who raced onstage in the middle of a concert
and ruined Andreϊ’s career. However, Andreϊ intercepts a fax directed to
the Bolshoi from Olivier Morne Duplessis (Francois Berléand) inviting
the orchestra to play at Pleyel in Paris in two weeks, substituting for
the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Andreϊ purloins the fax, erases it from
the Bolshoi’s computer, and proceeds to contact all the members of his
old orchestra to convince them to get together to go to Paris for the
triumph that has eluded them for all these decades. In the process, he
convinces Gavrilov to help them, but is he a friend or still an enemy?
What ensues is part
adventure, putting together his old team of musicians who have spent
the last three decades in mundane jobs, and part sentimental
tearjerker, as Filipov gets acclaimed violinist Ann-Marie Jacquet (Mélanie
Laurent, who gave such a terrific performance in The Inglorious
Basterds) to appear as a soloist. Ann-Marie’s story provides the
counterpoint to Filipov’s quest for redemption.
The film is greatly
enhanced by the score, which includes symphonic, modern, and Gypsy
music, with some chorale to translate the passing of time and contrast
the present and the past. The film concludes with a beautiful
performance of Tchaikovsky’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, which
was cut from 22 minutes to 12 minutes by composer Armand Amar. It was
performed on location at the famed Theatre Du Chatelet in Paris.
Taking nothing away from
the fine performances of Guskov, Barinov, Laurent, Berléand, and the
others in the cast, the person who stole the movie for me was Miou Miou,
who plays Guyléne de La Riviére, a friend, manager, and mother figure
for Anne-Marie, who never knew her real parents. Although Miou Miou (a
1980 Best Actress Cesar Award winner) was born in 1950, she is still
beautiful, even though she’s made up matronly which hides her beauty.
For me, it was her performance that communicated the mystery that
allowed the movie to be something more than an ordinary story of
Although I enjoyed the
film, I think it probably appeals to women more than men. My friend who
accompanied me gave it an 11 on a scale of 10, while wiping the tears
from her face, and the two ladies sitting next to her were seeing it for
the second time and still had tears streaming down their cheeks. While I
thought it dragged somewhat during the first hour, it has some good
comedic points, is a devastating commentary on soviet Communism, and is
rewardingly sentimental. In French and Russian.