Academic journal article Notes

Fryderyk Chopin

Academic journal article Notes

Fryderyk Chopin

Article excerpt

Fryderyk Chopin. DVD. A film by Angelo Bozzolini and Roberto Prosseda. [Berlin]: EnroArts, 2010, 2015. 2058848. $29.99.

An early death has a way of giving an artist a shot at immortality, at least in the world of film. Rarely has a composer been the subject of more films than Frederic Chopin, who died at the age of 39. If Chopin's music was not enough to interest audiences, his exile in Paris and his ten-year relationship with the novelist George Sand provided filmmakers with a variety of possible interpretations of his life and music. In the wartime feature film A Song to Remember (1944), Cornel Wilde portrayed Chopin as an angry young man, led astray by a hedonistic George Sand (played by Merle Oberon). In Impromptu (1991), Hugh Grant played a sickly Chopin in the shadow of Judy Davis's robust George Sand. Documentaries have tended to build the case for Chopin as a patriot and national symbol of Poland. The Strange Case of Delfina Potocka, by the prolific British filmmaker Tony Palmer, was a notable exception, rousing the ire of the Polish Government by reopening the case of the "pornographic" and anti-Semitic letters purportedly written by Chopin to his friend and student Delfina Potocka. Three years later, the Polish writer--director Jerzy Antcak responded with the significantly more sympathetic film, Chopin: Desire for Love.

Angelo Bozzolini's Chopin was produced in time for the 200th anniversary of the composer's birth in 2010, and has now been released on DVD through EuroArts. Chopin is a film that presents no revelations or conspiracies, but rather calmly celebrates the composer's life and music. The film opens with reflections on the composer's genius. It then moves chronologically through his life with digressions that focus on aspects of his music and his place as a national symbol of the Polish people.

To tell this story, Angelo Bozzolini has assembled a "who's who" of famous musicians commenting on Chopin and his music including Vladimir Ashkenazy, Daniel Barenboim, Martha Argerich, and Charles Rosen. …

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