FourLastSongs800

three nights three movies

Just wanted to rec­om­mend a trio of movies con­nected by gor­geous music to enjoy on a trio of nights, prefer­ably one after the other. These are not movie re­views, merely rec­om­men­da­tions: three nights three movies ex­cel­lent music …

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RgZjaxrnlPc]

First night: Mao’s Last Dancer is an Aus­tralian film di­rected by Bruce Beres­ford (2009) and based on dancer Li Cunxin’s au­to­bi­og­raphy of the same title. In 1972, the 11-year old Cunxin was se­lected for ballet training and even­tu­ally ends up as an ex­change stu­dent and a star with the Houston Ballet.

The adult Cinxin is played by Chi Cao, prin­cipal dancer with the Birm­ingham Royal Ballet. It also stars Bruce Green­wood, Kyle MacLachlan, Joan Chen, and Amanda Schull. A ballet movie for people who don’t wanna watch no ballet movie …

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NX66lRnNmqs]

Second night: A Late Quartet is an Amer­ican film pro­duced and di­rected by Yaron Zil­berman, who also co-wrote the script with Seth Grossman (2012). The film con­cerns a well-established string quartet The Fugue and stars Christo­pher Walken, Philip Sey­mour Hoffman, Katherine Keener, and Mark Ivanir as the mu­si­cians, and Imogen Poots as an as­piring vi­o­linist.

The cast is ex­cel­lent, as is their per­for­mance in de­picting four people whose love for music has turned them into a family, with the ex­pected in­ternecine in­ter­play and drama.

Ex­cel­lent drama with bloody mar­velous music and your choice for best performance—as much as I love Hoffman and Walker, my nod goes to Ivanir here (but whose name does not grace the front cover of the DVD box as one of the four stars).

The mar­velous music—especially Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 14 in C♯ Minor, Op. 131—was played by the Brentano String Quartet. The Brentano’s cel­list Nina Lee also has small role in the movie.

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDmsXdkhGJI]

Third night: Four Last Songs is a British movie written and di­rected by Francesca Joseph (2007). The title is taken from Richard Strauss’ com­po­si­tion Four Last Songs, dealing with the ac­cep­tance of death. It stars Stanley Tucci, Rhys Ifans, Hugh Bon­neville, Jes­sica Stevenson, and Jena Malone.

The movie deals with a mid­dling pi­anist (Tucci) living on a small is­land in the Mediter­ranean who de­cides to give a tribute con­cert to a de­ceased com­poser, one of the island’s real celebri­ties. Every member of the cast is fine but Rhys Ifans steals the movie for my sen­si­bil­i­ties. The movie’s title refers a man­u­script of the sup­posed four final pieces by the com­poser that no one knows ex­ists, in­cluding his widow.

As I said, there are no re­views above, no rat­ings, simply three movies that I re­ally like and as­sume that many readers would also. Anyone want to sug­gest a fourth movie for a fourth night?


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