No one should be allowed to attend a screening of In Search of Mozart without a Red Bull in hand. Remember all those boring-as-shit historical recreation videos you watched in high school that managed to negate any interest you had in their subject matter to begin with? Add this new doozie to the stack, a film that is by no means lacking in hard data and illuminating facts into the life of one of the greatest artists to ever tread upon God’s green earth, but one that is nonetheless without a clue as to how to express that information in any means beside stuffy formalism that borders on self-parody. Samples of Wolfgang’s most famous compositions play over hilarious montages of falling snow and leaves rustling in the wind, while readings of preserved letters are accompanied by oh-so-meaningfully slow pans over a portrait of the individual in question. Splice in the occasional, totally un-illuminating interviewee sound bite, and multiply for two seemingly endless hours. Michael Moore may preach to his own choir most of the time but the man does so with flair and pizzazz; here, academics justly pontificate on the grandeur of Herr Mozart’s work, but there isn’t a moment that doesn’t suggest a lecture begun long before the audience was let into the room. Films like Marie Antoinette and, incidentally, Amadeus, get flack for their divergence from absolute fact (despite their holding no claim to it in the first place), but these are works that understand not only the reflexivity of history, but the need to look at any period of time from the perspective of its own present if we are to truly understand their connection to us through the past. While such loose, postmodern examinations represent but one way of trying to understand our collective history (to say nothing of the legitimacy of a well-aestheticized formalist work), the didactic attitude of In Search of Mozart approaches fascism. No wonder history’s dead.
- Direct Cinema
- 129 min
- Phil Grabsky
- Phil Grabsky
- Frank Adams-Brown, Debbie Arnold, Sean Barrett, John Davies, Renée Fleming, Lang Lang, Louis Langrée, Juliet Stevenson, Sam West
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