Venice 1763 – writer Lorenzo da Ponte is leading a pleasure-seeking life. He was originally a priest but his numerous affairs force him to be exiled to Vienna. Supported by his friend and mentor Giacomo Casanova, da Ponte is introduced to the Emperor’s favourite composer, Salieri, and a newcomer named Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Seeing an opportunity to undermine Mozart’s ascension, Salieri tricks Mozart into hiring this unknown libertine as his librettist. But da Ponte’s own nature and sentimental wanderings in Vienna will nurture his inspiration and lead to one of Mozart’s most bold and powerful compositions: Don Giovanni.
Ranked among Europe’s elite filmmakers, Carlos Saura had his greatest impact in the late ‘60s and early ’70s when his often politically charged films revitalized Spanish cinema. Like his mentor Luis Buñuel, Saura freely blends reality with the macabre and an often grotesque surrealism to create worlds in which reality is subjective. Saura was born the second of four children in Huesca, Spain. His father was a lawyer, his mother a pianist, and his brother, Antonio, grew up to become a noted abstract expressionist painter. In 1935, Saura’s family weathered the Spanish Civil War in Madrid. The war had a tremendous impact on Saura, and snippets of his vivid, often terrifying memories would later appear in his films. As a young man, Saura briefly studied engineering but at age 18 left school to become a professional freelance photographer. Specializing in photographing dancers and musicians, Saura made a name for himself and even staged two one-man exhibitions, the second of which featured… read more
I would give this movie four stars but I didn't really like most of the green-screen / projected backgrounds. Very well cast and the are some scattered dynamic moments which I enjoyed like when da Ponte and his love interest talk/defend their stances while they fold sheets, ebbing and flowing back toward each other. At the same time it's one of the last recently-made movies I've seen that actually felt complete.
As with the Contemporary World Cinema index, a few films with entries of their own are listed here. A few more will appear shortly in conjunction