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The Italian Character: Orchestra documentary misses a beat

A scene from The Italian Character.

2 out of 4 stars

Directed by
Angelo Bozzolini
English, Italian, Russian

Being basically a handsomely produced press kit for the world-famous Orchestra Nazionale di Santa Cecilia – a group of musicians historically committed to playing only symphonic works – The Italian Character does not lack for beautiful music.

By following the group through rehearsals en route to a final performance, director Angelo Bozzolini affords himself plenty of opportunity to include glorious classical pieces by a variety of composers.

The works are overwhelming in scope and complexity, and the film's structure is meant to be similarly intricate, sketching out the personalities of the various players around the central figure of conductor Antonio Pappano. Although he's a charming enough star, the film's perspective never feels truly polyphonic. Instead, Bozzolini stays resolutely on message from beginning to end, insisting so enthusiastically and adamantly about the greatness of Italy's musical culture that he almost drowns out the melodies on his own soundtrack.

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About the Author

Adam Nayman is a contributing editor for Cinema Scope and writes on film for Montage, Sight and Sound, Reverse Shot and Cineaste. He is a lecturer at Ryerson and the University of Toronto and his first book, a critical study of Paul Verhoeven's SHOWGIRLS, will be published in 2014 by ECW Press. More


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