Wednesday 6 August 2008


Today, August is looking just as itself, a bit grey and there is an end of holiday/Summertime to it. Nothing is happening in my life at the moment and therefore I am utterly bored. I thought I could blog about one of my favorite movies, which really made me discover Mozart. I am talking of course about Milos Forman's Amadeus. Years before I watched it, the poster (above), with the spectral figure opening his arms, used to scare the living daylights out of me, much more than any horror flick. In a way, it is a horror movie, as some scenes are frightening and the plot is about jealousy turned to murderous madness. Like any horror movie, this one is about the dark side of human nature. It's a beautiful film, but it has the kind of beauty that strikes terror. And like a horror movie, Amadeus is about a monster, but who is the monster I am not sure. Mozart, a man capable of creating such music is in a way a monster, an abnormality in this common world. Or maybe the monster is Salieri, persuaded that Mozart is Christ and yet his jealousy pushes him to destroy him. Who would want to kill the Son of God if he knew (or was persuaded, which is the same) of his divine nature? Salieri has been compared to Cain, but I often find the features of Abraham to have something of Lucifer. Then again, I understand his envy, which makes his monstrosity all the more human.

So for those who haven't seen him and been reading this entry that far, you could guess that the movie is not a biopic of Mozart (it takes too many liberties to be a biopic), it is a fascinating tale about Mozart as a character and about his genius, told through the eyes of Salieri (played by F. Murray Abraham), his bitter rival. The title is appropriate: it is not called Mozart, or Wolfgang, but Amadeus. Amadeus, God's beloved. It is about Amadeus, not Herr Mozart, that the story is all about, about the (alleged) divine source of his inspiration. Salieri, a very austere and religious composer, both loves and resents Mozart, who is played as a vulgar and exuberant buffoon, for having a gift for music Salieri never received from God. He thinks God should have given him such talent, as a payment for his piety. Gradually, Salieri's bitterness towards Mozart will turn to desires of vengeance and he will try to destroy Amadeus by various means, slowly but inexorably sending him to the grave.

Everything works in the movie. The music does not merely enhance the plot, it creates it. There is not one role, even the smallest, that does not have a memorable moment, however brief, the script is perfect, the setting mixes with harmony light and darkness. There is so much to say about it, but this is not meant to be a deep analysis, it is just a blog entry about a movie I deeply admired, written on a rainy day. I will let the movie speak for itself. Below, the trailer with a few scenes. Is it brilliant, or what?

1 comment:

PJ said...

On ne s'écoeure pas d'écouter ce film. Quand j'étais petit et plus catholique, maudit que je trouvais Salieri blasphèmatoire... Aujourd'hui, je trouve le texte fort en torrieu. Le Salieri de Shaffer, personnage complètement fictif à toute fin practique, est un antihéros fascinant.