Fathers, sons, and requiems

In 1984, my dad took me and my sister to see Amadeus at the cinema. We would go to see a movie, usually something from the Disney catalogue of animated features, as a family once a year, but this wasn’t part of the annual ritual. My dad was an avid hobby musician and he loved Mozart’s music, so he wanted to see the film with his children. I was nine at the time, and I’m sure my dad didn’t expect the mature themes or the scatology. I don’t really remember seeing any other films just with my dad when I was a kid, rather than with my mum or both my parents, but Amadeus stayed with me. As a pretentious little nine-year-old, I loved it – less so for Mozart’s impish, infantile irreverence than for the drama and the dark humour. Or perhaps that’s me projecting into my younger self, 38 years after the fact.

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I’ll be in my trailer… watching trailers: The audience is listening

Join us every week for a trip into the weird and wonderful world of trailers. Whether it’s the first teaser for the latest instalment in your favourite franchise, an obscure preview for a strange indie darling, whether it’s good, bad, ugly or just plain weird – your favourite pop culture baristas are there to tell you what they think.

Not all films by Ingmar Bergman can be stone-cold classics, and Matt definitely wasn’t convinced that After the Rehearsal belongs in that category. Nonetheless, this late-career TV movie set in the world of theatre has found a second life on the stage – and since YouTube doesn’t seem to have a trailer for After the Rehearsal that can actually be embedded, here’s a trailer for a Dutch theatre company’s double-header of After the Rehearsal and Persona. None more Bergman!

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A Damn Fine Cup of Culture Podcast #53: Exactly the right number of notes – Amadeus (1984)

Some of us remember when we first heard that high-pitched giggle at the cinema, and watched as a thoroughly mediocre man, though one with an eye and an ear for genius, vowed to destroy the greatest composer of his generation: in 1984, Milos Forman’s film adaptation of Peter Shaffer’s stage play Amadeus came out – and made a great splash the following year at the Academy Awards, being nominated for eleven Oscars and winning eight of those, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor (though, admittedly, it had doubled its chances of getting the latter by nominating both of its leads – a delightfully meta continuation of the Salieri/Mozart rivalry depicted in the film). Although Amadeus is often called a biopic, our baristas argue that it is something different altogether, and something infinitely more interesting at that. Join Julie, Sam and Matt as they revisit the 1984 hit and discuss its legacy.

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The Rear-View Mirror: Amadeus (1984)

Each Friday we travel back in time, one year at a time, for a look at some of the cultural goodies that may appear closer than they really are in The Rear-View Mirror. Join us on our weekly journey into the past!

It is a riveting scene, and one that at a glance would seem entirely uncinematic: the younger man, sick, pale and sweaty, lies in bed and dictates music to the older man, who scribbles musical notes onto paper as if it was a race against time – which it is. The brilliant composer will not live much longer. It is a scene that doesn’t seem to need the big screen: it could just as well be performed on stage, and this is in fact where it originated. None of this seems immediately cinematic – yet it is one of the great moments of 1980s cinema: Mozart and and his bitter, envious rival Salieri racing against death to get his final masterpiece, the Requiem in D minor, K. 626, out of the dying man’s head and onto paper so it would be preserved for posterity.

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It’s the pictures that got small

This week I saw my first Hitchcock on the big screen. I grew up in the ’80s, which meant that I first and, more often than not, only saw the classics of cinema on TV – and in the ’80s that meant, what, screens that were 30 inches across if you were lucky? TVs were big, bulky monstrosities, but the screens weren’t particularly big – which was good, really, because television channels broadcast images that were relatively fuzzy. If you sat close enough to the screen so that it filled your field of vision (and you could smell that weird electric smell), what you saw was basically impressionist art.

North By Northwest

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