Callas Forever 2004 PG-13

Amazon Instant Video

(56) IMDb 6.6/10

Callas Forever follows the temperamental opera singer, Maria Callas. Found humiliated by the deterioration of her voice, her manager is determined to reignite her passion.

Fanny Ardant, Jeremy Irons
1 hour, 49 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Romance, Music
Director Franco Zeffirelli
Starring Fanny Ardant, Jeremy Irons
Supporting actors Joan Plowright, Jay Rodan, Gabriel Garko, Manuel de Blas, Justino Díaz, Jean Dalric, Stephen Billington, Anna Lelio, Alessandro Bertolucci, Olivier Galfione, Roberto Sanchez, Achille Brugnini, Eugene Kohn, Maria del Mar Rivas, Concha Lopez, Bryan Jardine, Bill Avery, Sorin Popa
Studio Here Media
MPAA rating PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Rental rights 7-day viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

65 of 71 people found the following review helpful By Rudy Avila on December 30, 2004
Franco Zefferelli, the director of so many lavish films- among them 1968's Romeo and Juliet, The Taming of the Shrew with Elizabeth Taylor, as well as the designer for sets in big budget operas, and best friend of Maria Callas, has made a movie that "saved" Callas. This is his tribute to her. This is a movie that was released in 2002, in Paris and Rome, but that did not make its way to American audiences until recently. It's soon to be released on DVD. For some Americans, this movie is a foreign film, another Zefferelli egocentric vehicle. To others, the opera fans, this is a gorgeous re-telling of the final days of Maria Callas and a portrait of her as an artist. And finally, there is a large [...] audience that would appreciate this film. Zefferelli himself is a gay man and in the past, when such lifestyle was taboo and controversial, he could not incorporate such themes in his movies. But this, his latest film, uses a gay character (played by Jeremy Irons) who manages a rock band and who launches a project for Maria Callas to make a "comeback" when she had been away from the limelight for years in Paris, 1977, when this film takes place.

Fanny Ardant plays Maria Callas, not an easy role for any actress to undertake. There are moments when Ardant becomes Callas- she imitates the diva's facial expressions (intense ones, angry ones) and her movements accurately. Her artistic integrity is the theme. Eventhough this director offers her to reappear as an actress with vocal dubbing from an old recording of hers of her voice, Callas refuses because she has too much integrity. A lot of the moving scenes are when we get a range of emotions from Ardant- especially the scene in which she hears a recording of Madame Butterfly and she breaks down in tears. That's difficult to watch.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By J. Kara Russell VINE VOICE on October 23, 2006
Format: DVD
Fanny Ardant said that she wanted to do this role because the script gave her the opportunity to have every emotion, and then on top of that, she would be playinig Maria Callas (apparently she had played Callas onstage in "Master Class" before doing this film). She was right. The words "tour de force performance" are tossed around a lot, but this is what the phrase is about. Fanny Ardant proves herself to be one of the best film actresses around in this film. Ardant is simply magnificent.
Fellini's direction is at it's finest and tightest here. His love of the theatrical gets its rightful venting in the scenes of rehearsal, and of the film within the film; but there are no extraneous flights of fancy. To me, Jeremy Irons and Joan Plowright are usually very much the same in every film, but they are greats, and they provide a perfect platform for Ardant to dive off of.
I recently saw the disappointing "Being Julia" in which Jeremy Irons also appears. Everything that film lacks, is here in this perfect, truly loving (warts and all) tribute to an immortal great. You do not have to like Opera to appreciate this film, and if you don't it is handled here in a way that will keep you engaged. If you do have an appreciation for Opera, and for great will have moments- as I did- of chills, and tears. Much more than being a tribute to Opera, this is an excellent tribute to the arts and to artists. Brava
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By DonnaReviews on March 22, 2005
As one critic put it, the soprano Maria Callas was in a special class, probably one of the greatest opera singers who ever lived with a fiery dramatic quality and equally dramatic looks; she was a goddess in her prime and now a legend; a Greek, her life also had all the makings of Greek tragedy. If anyone warrants a film to be made about her, it is she. And "Callas Forever" delivers. It is a stunning film and beautiful valentine that goes beyond a love for Callas into an exploration of artistic integrity with gorgeous performances, rich music, scenery, emotion and drama. It was created by Franco Zeffirelli who knew and loved the woman, and this respect shows.

The story takes place in 1977, several months before Callas died of a heart attack at age 53, when she was living as a recluse in her Paris apartment, her voice a shadow of its former glory and her career ended. Friends are unable to reach her, but her old manager, Larry Kelly (the superb Jeremy Irons), a gay promoter of rock bands, succeeds in gaining a moment with her where he springs his idea of launching a comeback for her. He wants to make a film, using her original recordings for the soundtrack, which she can lip synch to. It wouldn't matter, he reasons, if the recordings are from years before; it is still her voice. Kelly desperately wants to rescue Callas from the tragic depression into which she has fallen; he knows the great artist is there, longing for the expression that was her life.

Fanny Ardent is an extraordinary Maria Callas, capturing the look, the excitement, the class, the temperament and power -- and the vulnerability. Thrillingly, Jeremy Irons is Ardent's match.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Laura D on April 11, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This was a very compelling movie, and beautiful to watch. The glaring fault in Fanny Ardant's otherwise excellent portrayal, which obviously can't be helped, was her heavy French accent - in every fictionalized drama I've seen where Maria Callas appears as a character (The Greek Tycoon, TV movies about Jackie Kennedy or Aristotle Onassis, etc) Maria is played as either having a thick Greek or Italian accent, when, as any documentary will show, she spoke with a definite American accent, only with a couple of grammatical slips and vocal inflections from having lived in Europe so much in adulthood. I wonder if any drama will ever depict Callas speaking as she actually did.

It was also an unnecessary annoyance to have Jeremy Irons' character manage that unseen British punk band. We could have done without hearing that very bad parody of what was supposed to resemble early punk rock music (but was just bad 70's rock pop music, not even heavy metal) in the opening credits.

All this depiction does is date Zefferelli's efforts and make an inaccurate foray into supposedly being "with it." There seemed to be about the entire characterization of Irons an attempt at a more contemporary portrayal of a worldly man being cool or hip, rather than a late 1970's ambience.
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