The Italian Character: The Story of a Great Italian Orchestra
SCR Angelo Bozzolini
CAM Lorenzo Scurati
ED Paolo Turla
PROD CO Alpenway Media Production GmbH
Among the 350 or so films that our festival brings us every year, there are usually several documentaries centred on classical music: Phil Grabsky’s films on Mozart and Haydn, Stephen Fry’s Wagner and Me, etc. Highly popular with VIFF audiences, these films, suffused with sumptuous music and dense with knowledge and expertise, lift our spirits and take us out of ourselves.
Angelo Bozzolini’s rich and wide-ranging documentary is just such a film, this one with a triple focus: the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome; its principal conductor, Sir Antonio Pappano; and, by implication but most importantly, the essence of the Italian character. Mixing excerpts from the orchestra’s performances, archival material of famous conductors (Bernstein, Prêtre) and soloists who’ve played with the orchestra, and well-presented interviews with current musical greats such as Gergiev and Lang Lang (each giving informed and stimulating insights on the Santa Cecilia), the film paints a full-fleshed portrait of the "Italian Character." The music we are treated to ranges extensively and includes Brahms, Rachmaninov, Mozart, Rimsky-Korsakov and, of course, Italy’s own composers.
Bozzolini’s film is as enjoyable as they come: the engaging musicians who people the film dazzle and entertain, giving the mind plenty of food for thought. There is not a dull moment. And the music is simply sublime.