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on May 30, 2011
I love this film so much I recently ordered an all region dvd player for no other reason than to enable me to watch the European region 2 version since the Weinstein Co. in its dubious wisdom seemed determined not to release this delicious film on dvd in the USA. Happily that is now an unnecessary purchase. This movie is not without its imperfections, but it is also uniquely satisfying as it swings with gusto from broad farce and roughneck socio/political silliness to its deeply moving finale. I defy anyone with the least shred of appreciation for music to watch the last 20 minutes without tears rolling down your cheeks. It is difficult to believe the director is the same man who made the remarkable Go, Live and Become (Va Vis et Deviens), which is one of the most serious and powerful films of the last decade.

It is now Oct. 10, 2011 and I am adding the following paragraph to my original May 30 review. Elsewhere Simina Farcasiu complains about the cuts to this release. Having watched this region 1 dvd three or four times by now I became curious and since I already owned the all region dvd player mentioned at the beginning I purchased the region 2 disc and just began watching it. Simina is absolutely correct. After only 10 minutes I have counted about a dozen meaningless cuts, some only seconds in length, which serve no purpose but to mindlessly streamline a narrative which does not need streamlining. In fact they weaken the impact significantly. The film remains a delight but so much more so in the uncut European release. My suggestion for those who care about such things is to purchase a PIONEER 420 -K all region dvd player. It's only about $80 (! There will certainly be other occasions when owning it will be useful. Often there are films available in Europe that are totally unavailable here and with this machine they are all playable. For a serious cinephile it would seem a no brainer.
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on March 4, 2017
I liked the story line well enough, however, it is such a chore to watch when the English dubbing didn't match the mouths moving. Should've left it in original format as I do not mind reading my movies. I might've given it a four star but there's just some parts of the movie that's highly implausible. Couldn't have hoped for a better ending though. Will probably try it again in original format, language and all. I have watched other movies in different language like The Chorus (Les Choristes) and Vitus, and in spite of the foreign language, I enjoyed it just the same. Subtitles are really helpful and does not take away from the movie experience at all.
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on May 1, 2014
I saw the American shortened version of this on Netflix and fell in love with it. Then I learned there was a longer version available only in "European version," so I bought it. Yes, it does require recalibration of the DVD player, but it's worth it. This version is longer, explaining many plot elements hinted at but never really colored in (chopped out) by the shortened version. There are no English subtitles (so you have to know French)--and something else: the script in French is not as funny as the English version. In one description, the English goes, "...the Bolshoi sounds like mating cats! We're better..." The French is "...the Bolshoi is terrible! We're better..." Either way, the movie is very funny, and, as stated by other reviews, the last 20 minutes will have you crying. Very touching.
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on August 19, 2012
This foreign movie is a great story about a past conductor of the Russian Philharmonic Orchestra, who now is a janitor, who sees an opportunity to bring his old comrades together for a performance in Paris, France. Though there is some humor in the movie, there is also tragedy, as it reminds you of the terrible days of communism and what it did to artists. I liked the movie so much that I gave it as a gift to a friend whose father used to be the conductor of the NY Philharmonic Orchestra. If you like to see something different and enjoy music than this is a movie I believe you will enjoy! I did!
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on April 10, 2018
So entertaining! It's a foreign film, so it takes a little getting used to the subtitles or the English dubbing. But, best foreign film by far.
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on July 6, 2011
Do you love to laugh? We got it! Do you love history and politics? We got it! Do you love watching a Russian and French 'reality show' filled with real people? We got it! Do you love feeling your heart and throat swell with emotion? We definitely have got it in this film!

I don't know where they got the story but I died laughing at the broad humor and caricature that was used in portraying the Russians in the beginning of the movie. Having MANY close Russian friends and having traveled to many Russian cities, I couldn't help but get choked with emotion and laughter at this look inside Russia today. If you understand about modern Russian weddings, you might chuckle the hardest through that scene and the Novy Russki.

There are twists and turns that are unexpected and surprising. There is a sense at one point that the film is moving away from the broad humor to a more serious vein. It never gets heavy or ponderous but instead, like a flower opening from a bud to a full-blown flower, you begin to see and appreciate deeper human emotions and though the actors' experiences might not have been your own, their parts are acted in such a way that you feel emotion right along with them. The cinematography is very interesting and presents flashbacks in a way that I have never seen but was very effective!

I watched this in a large theater of senior citizens in south Florida. Various parts of the room laughed at Jewish jokes, French jokes, and we all laughed at the antics of the Russians. Even though the film was spoken in Russian and French with English subtitles, I thought the subtitles were very well done. Sometimes foreign films either don't give you time to read the words by flashing them by too fast or they display them against inappropriate backgrounds making them virtually impossible to read. I thought these subtitles were some of the best I've ever seen; thanks!!!

The ONLY reason I didn't give this film 5 stars is because it is not Gone With the Wind or Dr. Zhivago or Lawrence of Arabia or even Elvira Madigan. How about 4.5 stars? It certainly deserves that!!!

Buy this film and enjoy its sweet humanity. It has yearnings and dreams that we can all understand. You will truly find after watching it that ALL the corners of your heart have been wonderfully touched.
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on May 10, 2011
One of the best films I have ever seen. The suspense builds up to the concert at the end; seems impossible to happen; meanwhile the secret of Anne Marie (Melanie Laurent, one of the most beautiful women in the world), is beginning to leak out, despite efforts to conceal. In the final concert her brilliant violin awakens the long gone skills of the orchestra, who play beautifully. She is amazed at her own playing as she is coming to realize that she is actually the daughter of Lea, now long dead in the Gulag, and she is (perhaps, point is not clear) the daughter of this amazing Russian maestro she is playing for and with. All this is conveyed without words, only by expression and gesture, a brilliant performance. Anne Marie finally realizes she is Jewish, she is Russian, her soul is Tchaikovsky, her mother was the famous Lea, and this maestro (I believe) is her never known father. She dissolves in tears of joy at the end. How can one not cry with her? Watch this film and pray for better subtitles or maybe an English version
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on August 21, 2016
I LOVE this movie. Just had to have it for myself although it's currently on Netflix. The last 15 minutes is really cathartic.
The rest of the film is really a build up to this. Everything the naysayer say about it is true, but who cares? I enjoy it every time I watch it.
By the way, it should be watched in the original Russian and French NOT in the dubbed English.
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on March 20, 2018
Politics and Tchaikovsky. Heaven on earth!...
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on May 11, 2015
A concert by the Bolshoi orchestra is interrupted in the middle of Tchaïkovski's violin concerto. Nearly 30 years later, the former conductor of the orchestra, now a janitor at the Bolshoi Theater, gets a chance to finish the concert: by assembling a small orchestra to impersonate the current ensemble at an "overseas" concert in Paris' Chatelet theater. Radu Mihaileanu's film is funny, touching, poetic, inspiring. And the English version does a good job of rendering the beauty of the original (in Russian and French, with French subtitles).
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