Irish Film Institute -THE CONCERT



119 minutes| France-Italy-Romania-Belgium-Russia| 2009| Colour| D-Cinema

Setting an unashamed crowd-pleaser in the stuffy world of classical music makes for disarming entertainment as a crisis for the Châtelet Theatre in Paris proves a life-changing moment for a cleaner at the famous Bolshoi Orchestra in Russia. The L.A. Philharmonic have cancelled their tour, and the French are in a tizzy, but when Andrei (authentically broody Aleksei Guskov) picks up their fax while dusting the chief executive’s office, a light bulb immediately goes off. Once a top conductor who fell foul of the Brezhnev-era authorities, he spots the moment to get together his old gang of top musicians, pass them off as the ‘real’ Bolshoi Orchestra, and thus restore both his career and self-respect.

Radu Mihaileanu’s film proceeds to have much fun at the expense of unruly Russians on tour, works in a heart-warming family sub-plot, and builds itself up to the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto – delivered with remarkably convincing, show-stopping aplomb by glamorous French actress Melanie Laurent.

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