The majestic music and fascinating life of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky are evocatively presented in this Academy Award-nominated film by writer/director Igor Talankin and celebrated composer Dimitri Tiomkin. Tchaikovsky demon... more »strates the inseparability of the composer's music from his life, as each moment of happiness and tragedy is expressed through the magnificent ballets, operas, symphonies and love songs that flow from his pen. These masterpieces become an integral part of the film, given cinematic expression through Talankin's sure-handed direction and the lavish resources afforded him by Mosfilm Studios.« less
"This film is closely linked to what must have a passionate, personal crusade for Dimitri Tiomkin. The film is well crafted and is best watched in Russian with English sub-titles. It was shot in Russia. The dubbed English version is irritating. The flim concentrates on the curious relationship of Tchaikovsky and his rich patron Madame von Meck - they never met. Locations and interiors are superb with some great performances by the large supporting cast. What is missing, of course, is the question of the sexuality of Tchaikovsky but the period detail is fascinating and genuine. There is little for the sensation seeker but a great deal for those interested in Tchaikovsky, 19th century Russia, and, indeed, for Hollywood movie music buffs interested in the great Dimitri Tiomkin. A most interesting contrast to Ken Russell's overheated The Music Lovers"
Another Beautiful Mind
Babington | Seattle, USA | 12/08/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"There is good news and bad news. The bad news is that this is a film filled to the brim with film cliches portraying Tchaikers as a genius modern artist, struggling with an ungrateful public for recognition. The good news is... Oooh, they do it so well!!! This film really moved me, the portrayal of Tchaikovsky was so absorbing that it really matters to you as you watch it if things go right or wrong for him. I was carried away, and recommend what I expected to be a slightly dodgy soviet biopic which turned out to be a great film. The Soviets could do 'Amadeus' any day of the week!"
MUST SEE FOR THE GREAT ACTING
Philippe RENAUD | MIAMI, FL United States | 10/04/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Fans of P.I. Tchaikovsky's music will be touched by Innokenti Smoktunovsky's portrayal of the composer. Smoktunovsky gives us the right combination of introversion, pain (not too much, not overdone), shyness, sensitivity, and personal trauma. Those of us who have enjoyed the actor's performance of HAMLET in Kozintsev's movie will not be disappointed. We truly feel sorry for Tchaikovsky in the end. Nadezhda VON MECK and the conceited (but gold hearted) RUBINSTEIN are also well portrayed. Their presence has a powerful impact on us. In the visuals and great acting lie all the power of this movie.
As a biography, the work unfortunately does not break new ground. Tchaikovsky's painful struggle with homosexuality is not touched upon (only suggested through subtle hints). 1972 Soviet censorship would, of course, have blocked any suggestions that one of their cultural icons suffered with this issue. Also, the movie uses a special sound filter on Tiomkin's arrangements that are meant to portray the inner workings of the composer's mind during the creative process. This filtering, however, sounds cheezy and distracts the viewer more than anything.
A beautiful and evoctive portrait of the times otherwise. The movie does cover most of the "acceptable" annectdotes of the composer's life in a most touching manner (Desiree Artot, the circumstances behind his disastrous marriage, Nadezhda Von Meck, and, of course, the matter of "diverging octaves" in the famous Piano Concerto's 1st mouvement). Thirty years later, the movie has the feel of well crafted and sensible PUBLIC TELEVISION production that will touch and educate us. This is not money wasted."
Ellsworth G. Stanton | New York, NY | 02/08/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is an excellent film. Beautifully photographed. Russia as I imagined it at that period in history Very well acted."
Piotr is alive here
Malinka | Vancouver, BC Canada | 05/18/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A product of the late Soviet era, this film is a cluster of near-perfection in visual, sound and scenario, all of which with persuading Russianness. One can hardly believe that all one sees are actors; Piotr is Piotr, in appearance and manners, so are Madame von Meck, Rubinstein and other characters. The story is rather focused on the relationship between Piotr and Madame von Meck. Obviously the director wanted the film a work of art, not a documentary. Profound words of life's anguish and joy are unforgettable, and persuasive enough to explain the secrets of his music. Visuals are aesthetic and deliberate. Interesting is the sound; rather than threading perfect recordings of familiar works, one often hears unfamiliar arrangement or unusual patchworking of tunes, as if they were resonating in the composer's head. In short, this film makes one experience what it is like to be a contemporary of the great composer, or to be himself.