Mozart’s Sister

October 2, 2011 5 Comments

Mozart had a SISTER?  Director Rene Fere answers this question by providing a touching film imagining the life of Marie Anna Mozart, older sister of Wolfgang who was herself a musical prodigy and whose talents were sadly eclipsed by the genius-appropriate gender of her brilliant younger brother.  Fere  captures the sadness of  the story without falling into preachy feminist critique.  Marie Anna (“Nannerl” to her family) is talented, vivacious and passionate about her music, part of a traveling family dazzling the courts of Europe.    Fast approaching the age (15) where she must shift focus and prepare for her “real” role in society (wife and mother), she is no longer allowed to play the violin and is strictly forbidden to share her brother’s composition classes.  The imaginative screenplay has our heroine meeting the young daughter of Louis XV; their friendship is warm, but sad, as the two young women come to terms with their “places” (the actresses are in fact sisters). Hints of romance with royalty raise the passion levels for both girls, but…….  Shot in starkly contrasting tones of darkness and dazzling light and scored with remarkable music (none of Nannerl’s compositions ever actually survived), the film re-creates a time that feels genuine (of course shooting on location at Versaille helps)….Saying more would spoil too much.   The film screened this weekend at the Detroit Film Theatre BUT will return next weekend on October 7 and 8 at (9:45 pm) and October 9 at 4:45pm……I kept thinking of Langston’s Hughes poem “What Happens to a Dream Deferred”…sigh…….This a a “Must See” Movie…….Jolyn Wagner

DFT Presents, Must See Movie of the Week
5 Comments to “Mozart’s Sister”
  1. Dave Lundin says:

    Very touching and even artistically tragic film, as Mozart’s talented sister literally burns her compositions in despair over her future and wonders what her life would have been like if she had been a male. Equally applicable to anyone disadvantaged by cultural circumstances and prejudices beyond their control, and equally disturbing. What would her compositions have sounded like and how would they have influenced the course of Western Classical Music? Beautifully shot in historical settings. Well worth seeing.

  2. Jolyn Welsh Wagner says:

    (Spoiler alert*****************)..the scene where Nannerl is allowed to hear hear own “notes” actually played by an orchestra is wonderful..the actress lets the music she hears pour over her..the sadness is that we know that it never happened and that Nannerl’s life stretched out into culturally appropriate anonymity…….but what a moment….Jolyn Wagner

  3. Patricia Plopa says:

    I have not yet seen the movie, but I very recently was in Salzburg and toured the family home of the Mozarts. I was struck when I was there to learn that Mozart had a very musically talented sister who was not given the support and opportunities Mozart enjoyed. The curiousity and sadness I felt about her life (when I was walking through the family home)seems to match what the movie conveys about her life. I look forward to the movie.

  4. Jolyn Welsh Wagner says:

    I do hope you see the film…the sadness about her life is palpable in the film(without being judgmental)…Jolyn

  5. Francesca Catalfio says:

    Finally saw Mozart’s Sister this weekend. I agree with you Jolyn – the sadness was palpable – but the actress who played Nannerl did so with great subtlety – no overacting – just really good acting. She embodied the prevailing thought of the period – total aquiescence and subserviance to the father figure. She worshiped and was obedient to her father even with full knowledge that what he was doing was morally wrong and quietly fell into her assigned role. Very well done film – really enjoyed it – provoked lots of good discussion and emotion with the friends I saw it with – and to me that’s one of the litmus tests of how good a film is!

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