Saturday, November 11, 2006

Copying Beethoven

This one went into limited release yesterday, November 10. Eager for it to hit Vancouver.

There's a great interview with Ed Harris on the Sep 22 "NPR: Movies" podcast. He talks about COPYING BEETHOVEN, and something especially caught my ear;
"It's the fictional story of a young woman who lands a job copying musical scores for Beethoven near the end of his life. Beethoven is at first reluctant to have the help of a young woman, especially as he prepares his Ninth Symphony. In this scene, he is in a tavern, talking with his friend the tavern owner. He's wondering if he should send the woman away, or see her as a sign from God."
Dialogue clip:
Beethoven: This new symphony, it's my farewell.
Bartender: You're not that sick.
Beethoven: No, no, no, my farewell to music as I've always known it, as I've always written it.
Bartender: You've been talking about that for years, Louie.
Beethoven: I'm starting a new chapter in my life. New forms, a new language. And now this woman is sent to me at this very moment. What if she was sent… by Him?
Bartender: Women are usually sent by the other one.
Beethoven: Suppose it's a sign.
Bartender: A sign of what, Louie?
Beethoven: That it's time.
Bartender: Time for what?
Beethoven: Time for me to join with him.
Bartender: Well if it's true, and she was sent by Him, and she's waiting in your apartment… You shouldn't be sitting here drinking, should you?
It's directed by Agnieszka Holland, which makes me think of THE THIRD MIRACLE, which she also helmed, which is all about faith. And EUROPA EUROPA, about a Jewish boy who tries to survive WW2 by posing as a Gentile. TO KILL A PRIEST, for which she also gets a story credit: "A young priest speaks out against the Communist regime in Poland and is killed for it." And now I find out she was involved in writing scenario for THREE COLOURS WHITE and BLUE, and has a film in production called MAGNIFICAT: "A gentle music loving Irish monk - elected as a malleable interim Pope - rebels and announces that he wants to canonise a Lutheran Protestant - Johann Sebastian Bach, thus throwing the Vatican into turmoil and making a dangerous enemy of Cardinal Platoni, the ambitious, Machiavellian and ruthless pretender to the throne." (IMDb)

MAGNIFICAT, COPYING BEETHOVEN and, say, AMADEUS - great future triple feature!

The "young woman copyist/muse" thing also puts me in mind of little-seen but fascinating Euro-flick about Doestoevsky writing his novel "The Gambler" under an impossible life-or-financial-death deadline. The film, like the novel, is called THE GAMBLER (not to be confused with older flicks featuring Kenny Rogers or James Caan), and interweaves three levels of reality: the "present" story-line about the novelist and his amanuensis, the events of the novel Fyodor is writing, and flashbacks to the autobiographical events out of which the novel was shaped. Real explicit God stuff , and pretty girls too.

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