Aria (film)

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Aria
Ariaposter1987.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by
Produced by Don Boyd
Written by
Starring
Music by
Cinematography Christopher Hughes
Edited by Neil Abrahamson
Distributed by Miramax Films
Release dates 15 September, 1987
Running time 90 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language Italian, French, German

Aria is a 1987 British anthology film produced by Don Boyd from Virgin Group's visual section consisting of ten short films by a variety of directors. It was entered into the 1987 Cannes Film Festival.[1]

Each segment features its director's visual accompaniment to arias and scenes from operas. Each film has minimal dialogue (most have none at all), with most of the spoken content being the operas' lyrics (libretto) in Italian, French, or German.

The music archive source was RCA Red Seal Records (which at the time included Erato Records, a label which later went to Warner Music; RCA is now a part of Sony Music Entertainment, further complicating the film's music rights).

Summary[edit]

Un ballo in maschera[edit]

A fictionalised account of a 1931 assassination attempt on King Zog of Albania, notable for his shooting back at his would-be assassins and surviving. (In the actual attempt, King Zog was leaving a performance of Pagliacci.)

"La vergine degli angeli" from La forza del destino[edit]

Two London teenage girls and a young boy steal a car.

Armide[edit]

Two nude women try to attract the attention of oblivious bodybuilders.

Rigoletto[edit]

A bedroom farce set in San Luis Obispo's famous Madonna Inn, in which a movie producer cheats on his wife unaware that she, too, is there with a clandestine lover of her own.

"Glück, das mir verblieb" from Die tote Stadt[edit]

A look at the seemingly-dead city of Bruges, Belgium. Scenic footage of the empty streets and cemeteries is intercut with a duet of two lovers, as a beautiful virgin is stripped naked by her lover and, after she expresses her affection for him, she loses her virginity to him.

Abaris ou les Boréades[edit]

A re-creation of opening night at Paris's Théâtre Le Ranelagh (fr) in 1734. The audience is filled with a raffish assortment of inmates from an asylum.

"Liebestod" from Tristan und Isolde[edit]

Two young lovers arrive in Las Vegas. After driving down Fremont Street, they check into a cheap hotel room where they unsuccessfully try to commit suicide following the consummation of their relationship.

"Nessun dorma" from Turandot[edit]

After a car crash, a lovely young girl imagines her body is being adorned by jewels mirroring her injuries, in a tribal ritual parallel to the procedures of the surgical team treating her, until she wakes up in the operating room after resuscitation.

"Depuis le jour" from Louise[edit]

A veteran opera singer gives her final performance, intercut by 8mm home movies of an early love affair.

"Vesti la giubba" from Pagliacci[edit]

A has-been virtuoso remembers his happier days while arriving at an opera house, visiting the dressing room to put on his clown makeup, and performing the aria for his audience of one. (This story provides a vague framing narrative to link together the other segments.)

Critical response[edit]

  • The film was nominated for the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival (won that year by Sous le soleil de Satan).
  • Amazon.com review: "This omnibus directors fest brings together 10 different filmmakers making 10 different films based on operatic arias. Jean-Luc Godard is stylistically the boldest, Robert Altman possibly the most imaginative, Franc Roddam celebrates American glitz, and Bruce Beresford is the most sentimental. Nearly all the other filmmakers involved—including Nicolas Roeg, Ken Russell, Julien Temple, Charles Sturridge, Derek Jarman, and Bill Bryden—are (or were, in the case of the late Jarman) world-class talents, but you wouldn't know that from their murky participation here." – Tom Keogh
  • Guerand, Jean-Philippe. In: Première (France). (MG), June 1987, p. 17
  • Godard, Jean-Luc. "Jean-Luc Godard par Jean-Luc Godard", vol. 2, 1984–1998. Cahiers du cinéma, 1998, 2866421981
  • Leonard Maltin from his guide: "BOMB (i.e.0/4) Godawful collection of short films, each one supposedly inspired by an operatic aria. Precious few make sense, or even seem to match the music; some are downright embarrassing. Roddam's bittersweet Las Vegas fable (set to Tristan und Isolde), Beresford's sweet and simple rendering of Erich Wolfgang Korngold's Die tote Stadt are among the better segments—relatively speaking. A pitiful waste of talent."

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Aria". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 19 July 2009. 

External links[edit]