VIFF Film Reviews: Side by Side; Karajan — Second Life; Hebreo: the Search for Salaman Rossi; Wagner’s Dream.

Three specialized screenings at the 2012 Vancouver International Film Festival this September 27.

Side by Side (Documentary, 99 minutes, USA, director Christopher Keneally). This history of digital film from its invention in the 1960s to the present has Keanu Reeves interviewing such notables as Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan (hates it) to Martin Scorsese (likes it) to George Lucas (couldn’t live without it). A must-see for filmophiles and technophiles.

The next two appear on a double bill.
Karajan — The Second Life (Documentary, 53 minutes, Germany, director Erik Schulz). The last years of Berlin Philharmonic conductor Herbert von Karajan through the eyes of his colleagues. A must-see for Beethoven-philes.

Hebreo: The Search for Salomone Rossi (Documentary, 45 minutes, Netherlands, director  Joseph Rochlitz). Madrigals, anyone? Don’t stop reading. This film is a gem. The Israeli all-male acapella group Profeti della Quinta visits Mantua to perform madrigals by Salomone Rossi, the city’s forgotten Seventeenth Century Jewish composer. You do not have to be a devotee of  Renaissance music to appreciate this film. The music and the performers are stunning.

Wagner’s Dream (Documentary, 114 minutes, USA, Susan Froemke). When New York’s Metropolitan Opera hires Cirque du Soleil’s Robert LePage to direct Wagner’s Ring cycle, hijinks ensue. To begin, LePage’s massive set of twenty-four giant rotating beams threatens to crash through the Met stage into the basement. Then the machine malfunctions and freezes. The stage hands seethe. But pranks and giggles abound. Watch as Fafner the giant in Das Rheingold whines that the set isn’t safe; share the horror of the Rhine maidens as they are strapped into corsets and dangled over the stage; be awestruck as the gods’ crossing of the Rainbow Bridge to Valhalla doesn’t happen; laugh as Deborah Voigt’s Brunnhilda spoils her stately entrance by stumbling into the guts of LePage’s machine. If you enjoyed the finished product on the Met’s HD broadcasts, this is for you.

The Story So Far

Updated: 28 September 2012

Films seen so far: 20.

The Best. Hunter’s Bride (Opera); Becoming Redwood (Drama). Hebreo: the Search for Salomone Rossi (Documentary).

Most Quirky. Mountain Runners (Documentary).

The Worst. Breakfast with Curtis (Supposedly a comedy).

The Rest. The Flat; The Great Northwest; My Father and the Man in Black; Camel Caravan; Revision; Love in the Medina; No Job for a Woman; Blood Relative; Day of All Saints; The Sound of the Bandoneon; Little Trips 2; Persistence of Vision; Side by Side; Karajan–the Second Life; Hebreo: the Search for Salomone Rossi; Wagner’s Dream.

About aharmlessdrudge

Way back during the late Bronze age -- actually it was the 1950s -- all of us in high school had to take a vocational test to determine our interests and, supposedly, our future careers. I cannot remember the outcome, but I do recall one question that gave me pause. "If you were to win a Nobel prize, would it be in literature or in physics?" I hesitated over the question: although I enjoyed mathematics and science more than English class, I did have a couple of unfinished (and very bad) novels hidden away at home. I cannot remember what I chose back then, but the dilemma followed me to university, where I switched from mathematics to English and -- after a five-year stint in journalism -- back to mathematics. I recently retired as a professor of statistics. Retirement. What a good chance to revive my literary ambitions. I have finished a novel -- more about that in good time -- and a rubble of drafts of articles about mathematics and statistics is taking up space on my hard disk.
This entry was posted in Film Reviews, Opera, VIFF and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s