Review: Nannerl, la soeur de Mozart (2011)

Nannerl, la soeur de Mozart (2011)

Directed by: René Feret | 120 minutes | drama | Actors: Marie Féret, Marc Barbé, Delphine Chuillot, David Moreau, Clovis Fouin, Lisa Féret, Adèle Leprêtre, Valentine Duval, Dominique Marcas, Mona Heftre, Salomé Stévenin, Nicolas Giraud, Arthur Tos, Océane Jubert, Julien Féret

What’s it like growing up in the shadow of a genius? You will not easily find the answer to that question in films, as we are interested in the spotlight and less in the shadows. In the French film ‘Nannerl, la soeur de Mozart’ we meet for a change an unknown relative of a great genius. A genius who, according to my sister, has a great musical talent, but is also only a small imbecile.

The role of the young Wolfgang Amadeus in this film is as modest as that of Mozart’s father and mother. They form the close company of the Mozart tour ’63 – ’66 and the safe harbor to which Nannerl keeps returning. For the rest, the film revolves entirely around the (imaginary) early years of this musically savvy sister of Mozart, her friendship with the wonderful French princess Louise, her complex relationship with the French crown prince and her attempts to make a career as a composer.

You can call ‘Nannerl, la soeur de Mozart’ the perfect anti-Hollywood movie. Not only is the pace slow, the dramatic events can be counted on the fingers of one hand and the main character is an everyday type, much more important is the elaboration of the main theme. While Hollywood continues to spread the myth that man can achieve anything if he really wants to, Nannerl tells a completely sobering story.

‘Nannerl’ shows that some differences can only be overcome in the long term. In Nannerl’s time, it was almost impossible for women to work as composers, let alone compete with the big names. Nor was it possible as a non-noble to penetrate the highest circles. In ‘Nannerl, la soeur de Mozart’ we see the barriers that separate a bourgeois woman from the composership or the aristocracy. Barriers that take ages to break and that are simply too high for a loner. As a consolation, the warmth of family remains, warmth that is lacking in aristocratic circles.

It makes this film anything but a crowd pleaser. What doesn’t help is that the pace sometimes drops from low to slow and the crown prince looks (and sometimes behaves) like a vampire from the Twilight series. Fortunately, Marie Féret’s sympathetic face and excellent acting are countered by this, as well as the beautiful locations, the creaky floors, the eye for historical detail and of course the wonderful music. Also nice, just about the entire artistic family Féret contributed to this production about the artistic Mozart family. With leading roles for the sisters Féret, who undoubtedly had it a lot easier than the sister Mozart.

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