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Mozart in Love1975

  • 3.4
Mark Rappaport's second feature film (amongst a remarkable string of off-beat, experimental narratives that runs from CASUAL RELATIONS to CHAIN LETTERS) takes off from the deliberate anachronism of using modern props, performance styles and attitudes to evoke the romantic entanglements of the young Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Rich La Bonte) with three sisters: Constanza (Margot Breier), Sophie (Sasha Nanus) and Louisa (Sissy Smith). This melodramatic plot of rejection, pining and sacrifice may have its basis in reality, but everything else is strictly stylized: back-projected settings, mix-and-match historical costumes, primary-colored walls, actors striking poses and the miming to records of Mozart arias, frequently interrupted by the raw audio track of real, untrained singing. For Rappaport, the ideological myths we internalize and the soap operas we live have to be exposed and mocked, just as the constructed illusion we call filmic realism has to be relentlessly dismantled. Both very much of its time (a cousin to contemporaneous works by Yvonne Rainer) and ahead of its time (anticipating the droll strategies of Hal Hartley), MOZART IN LOVE offers a handy checklist of the many acute, often hilarious games of disenchantment devised by this ever-inventive artist. - Adrian Martin

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"[Mark] Rappaport's stylistic approach [...] is fascinating... He takes whatever is at hand [and] presses it to his needs..." - Roger Ebert

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top reviewer

Open simplicity with modest special effects create an intriguing atmosphere... until the recorded opera music cuts abruptly and the cast sings in an amateurish style. This got hard to take after a while for a trained musician such as myself. This occurred over and over and over, till the phrase "art film" popped into my head over and over again.

Of interest though was the use of, seemingly, quoted letters from Mozart himself and the three Weber sisters, with whom Mozart flirted and cajoled till eventually one of them became his real-life wife: Constanza--revealed with full glorious natural cleavage, breaking the monotony of the prerecorded/real singing toggle that becomes tiresome after an hour. But sincerely, "A for effort" for the cast and an interesting experiment.