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A Medley of Musical Films


Whilst working at Romley Davies Publicity over the summer I was given the task of writing a series of features to publicise the release of the new film The Concert…

 

To celebrate the release of The Concert on 16th June 2010 we take a look at the top 10 films that are based on up and coming musicians from both reality and fiction.

1.The Concert (2010) Thirty years ago, Andrei Simonivich  Filipov (Aleksei Guskov) was the celebrated conductor of the renowned Bolshoi Orchestra. But during the communist era, he was fired at the height of his fame for refusing to get rid of all his Jewish musicians, which included his best friend Sasha. Now demoted to the position of cleaner at the Bolshoi, he learns by chance that the Chatelet Theatre in Paris has invited the orchestra to perform there. Andrei decides to reunite his orchestra and to perform in Paris in the place of the current Bolshoi Orchestra. He wants Anne-Marie Jacquet (Melanie Laurent), a young virtuoso, as the solo violinist to accompany his old Jewish and gypsy musicians. If they all manage to overcome the hardships ahead, this very special concert will be a triumph. 

 

 2.The Pianist (2002) A moving film which follows the experiences of acclaimed Polish pianist, Wlad Spielzman, during WW2. He was born into a wealthy Jewish family and led a successful life until his life changed dramatically as he becomes a prisoner of war and is deported to the ghetto of Warsaw. He manages to escape and has no choice but to live in hiding moving from one abandoned home to another. The film portrays the horrific conditions of war through the musician’s eyes and depicts his struggle to survive and the loneliness he feels due to his family being taken away from him. Ultimately it is his musical gift that helps him to survive as he is forced to play for his life.

 

 

3. This is Spinal Tap (1984)  A mocumentary about English Rock band, Spinal Trap, who go on a nationwide tour starting in America to present their come-back album ‘Smell the Glove’. The first concerts begin but as the film progresses problems start to occur for the band such as concerts being cancelled and distributors refusing to sell the album due to its cover being sexist. Throughout, the film satirises the wild behaviour and musical pretensions of rock and roll stars.

 

 

 

4. Ray (2004) A biographical film which depicts the struggles of Rhythms and Blues musician Ray Charles who despite going blind at the young age of 7 is determined to make a success of his life.  Inspired by his mother who told him never to be a cripple he learns to play the piano and from then becomes known to all as a musical genius and famous singer. However, it is not plain sailing for the man who becomes addicted to Heroin which threatens to ruin everything for him. The story tells of the drive and determination the man has to take control of his life and not be defeated by whatever the world has to throw at him. 

 

 

5. Brassed Off (1996)  A comedy-drama about a close-knit community in Yorkshire where for 100 years the town’s men have been playing in The Grimley Colliery Brass band. On discovering that the local mine is to be shut down the band leader decides to enter into a national championship competition to give some hope to the town’s men once again but with other worries on their minds the men are not focussed. That is until pretty female flugelhorn player, Gloria (Tara Fitzgerald), returns to the town where she grew up and wishes to join the band. This sends a wave of interest back to the players and especially her childhood sweetheart, trumpeter Andy (Ewan McGregor).  

 

 

6. Amadeus  (1984) The film adaption of Peter Shaffer’s play which is based upon the life of the genius musician and composer Wolfgang Mozart told by Salieri, another composer from Vienna who is confined to an Asylum. It portrays the envy and agony that Salieri feels towards Mozart whose music he likened to the voice of God and his failure to understand why God did not pass the gift onto him instead. Throughout the film Salieri cunningly plans to take revenge and conquer Mozart. 

 

 

 

7. The Piano Teacher (2001) Based on Janice Lee’s novel, the highly respected and talented piano instructor, Erika, teaches at a famous music conservatory in Vienna and is known for her strict and disciplined lessons. However, outside of her lessons she has a strong and violent sexual appetite which she finds difficult to control. When a handsome, self-assured student auditions for her class an immediate attraction forms and she invites him into her fantasies and allows him to soften her.  

 

 

 

8. Bird (1988) Clint Eastwood directs the biopic film about saxophone player, Charlie Parker, who travels to New York in the 40’s to establish his career with his new style of revolutionary jazz music. It is a tragic story in which after finding fame he gets caught up in drug addiction and dies at the young age of 34. The film explores his life from childhood through to his adulthood and his marriage to Chan Richardson who was always by his side supporting him. 

 

 

 

9. The Soloist (2009 ) Another true life story in which journalist, Steve Lopez, discovers cello prodigy Nethanial Ayers living in squalor on the streets as a street performer.  Although he had attended Julliard Music College for two years and was known as one of the most gifted students his future was doomed as he battled with schizophrenia. As the journalist gets to know the man behind the mental illness the respect he has for him grows and he is determined to help Ayers gain the recognition he deserves. In order to help him, as well as the other under classed, to have a better quality of life he writes a series of articles about the extraordinary talent the homeless man has.  

 

 

10.Walk the line (2005) Based on Johnny Cash’s autobiographical works, the film traces the life of the country music legend (Joaquin Phoenix) and reveals all of the poignant moments of his life which inspired and led to his fame. It relives his troubled childhood through to his experiences in the armed forces and then his attempts to start a music career. His love life with June Carter (Reese Witherspoon) is of particular focus and its tragic ending resulting in his fatal drug addiction. 

 

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September 5, 2010 Posted by | Features, Portfolio | , , , , | 1 Comment

A Love Affair with Paris


Whilst working at Romley Davies Publicity over the summer I was given the task of writing a series of features to publicise the release of  the new film The Concert. Here is one I wrote about films that use the  beautiful  and romantic city of Paris as their setting…

 

To celebrate the release of The Concert on 16th June 2010 we take a look at the top 10 films from the past twenty years where filmmakers have fallen in love with the beautiful and intriguing city that is Paris. With its romantic atmosphere and striking architecture it is the perfect setting for so many fascinating films.

1.The Concert (2010) Thirty years ago, Andrei Simonivich  Filipov (Aleksei Guskov) was the celebrated conductor of the renowned Bolshoi Orchestra. But during the communist era, he was fired at the height of his fame for refusing to get rid of all his Jewish musicians, which included his best friend Sasha. Now demoted to the position of cleaner at the Bolshoi, he learns by chance that the Chatelet Theatre in Paris has invited the orchestra to perform there. Andrei decides to reunite his orchestra and to perform in Paris in the place of the current Bolshoi Orchestra. He wants Anne-Marie Jacquet (Melanie Laurent), a young virtuoso, as the solo violinist to accompany his old Jewish and gypsy musicians. If they all manage to overcome the hardships ahead, this very special concert will be a triumph. 

 

2. Amelie (2001) A romantic comedy in which a young woman, with a highly active imagination and sweet, romantic nature, is on a quest to fix and bring happiness to the lives of those around her. Amelie is aware, more than most, of how cruel life can be with her mother dying in a car crash when she was six, a lack of contact with a father and a heart complaint that meant she couldn’t be brought up at school. So after hearing the news that Princess Diana has died in a car crash she sets of on her mission. But amidst her attempts to please others can she make herself happy and find the man of her dreams in the romantic city?

 

 3. Moulin Rouge (2001) A beautiful and tragic love story between theatrical prostitute, Satine (Nicole Kidman), and English poet, Christian (Ewan McGregor). The poet has set out to establish himself as a playwright in Paris yet he soon gets mixed up in the Bohemian underworld of sex, drugs and musical theatre. The infamous nightclub setting, along with stunning cinematography, emphasises the glamour and euphoria that the film presents.

  

4.  The French Kiss (1995) In this romantic comedy Kate’s (Meg Ryan) fiancé is sent to Paris on business and whist there becomes obsessed with French beauty Juliette. After he calls off their wedding Kate is determined to win her lover back by travelling to France. With the help of thief Luc Teyssier, who she meets on her journey, she sets out to prove herself to her ex but it would seem that unexpected feelings begin to emerge between her and the Frenchman. 

 

 

 5. Paris, je t’aime (2006) A unique film about falling in love in which five-minute slots are allocated to some of the best acclaimed filmmakers and directors to declare their adoration for Paris, the City of Love. Each transition links to each other by starting with the last shot of the previous film resulting in a build up of intensifying emotion.

 

 

 

 

6. The Davinci Code (2006) The film begins in a Paris art gallery where a man lays murdered on the floor underneath Leonardo Davinci’s painting of The Mona Lisa Smile. The film continues with cryptologist Robert Langdon’s (Tom Hanks) pursuit to find clues in order to piece together the mystery which proves to be larger than imagined.

 

 

 

7. Chocolat (2000) Mysterious Vianne and her daughter move to quiet, rural France and cause a stir by opening a chocolate shop across the road from the church where lent is about to begin. Officials try to get her thrown out of the village but many of the locals begin to take warmly to her and especially her secret ingredient in her chocolate that adds a little guilty pleasure to their lives. 

 

 

 

8. Phantom of the Opera (2004) Set in the Paris Opera House, a hideous musical genius known as ‘The opera ghost’ gives vocal lessons to a young chorus girl, Christine, and becomes besotted with her. However, whilst he is terrorising the cast into giving his pupil lead roles she is reacquainted with Raoul who she has known since childhood and falls in love with him. In anger the Phantom kidnaps Christine and intends to make her his eternal bride. Luckily, Raoul is prepared to go to extreme lengths to save his lover. 

 

 

 

9.  Ratatouille (2007) Taking French Cuisine to new levels, the children’s film stars a rat named Remy whose dreams of becoming a culinary marvel come true as he pairs with a young chef with no talent who needs his help. Together they make some delicious dishes but they are constantly watching their backs…if the rat is spotted in the kitchen it will be the end of the road for both of them! 

 

 

 

10.  The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996) 15th Century Paris is the setting for the Disney film where puppeteer Clopin tells the story of the hunched back, unsightly character, Quasimodo, who spends his days hidden from the world in a bell tower by his evil master Frollo. During the Festival of Fools, Quasimodo’s gargoyle friends encourage him to go and take part and enjoy himself. Amidst the festivities he meets beautiful gypsy girl Esmeralda and falls in love with her. Throughout the rest of the film he sets out to protect her as they fall under the rage of Frollo.

 

September 5, 2010 Posted by | Features | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Brangelina: a timeline


Schillings has announced this week that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are pursuing legal action against News of the World. The couple claim that the newspaper printed untrue stories about them splitting up. Lets look back at significant moments in the couple’s relationship.

2004– The pair met whilst filming “Mr and Mrs Smith”, however, Brad was still married to Jennifer Aniston.

2005– Brad’s split with Jennifer left fans devastated and they accused Angelina for the break up. In April Brad and Angelina were papped together with Angelina’s son, Maddox, on a secluded beach in Kenya which started the media’s obsession about a new Hollywood romance.

July: Although still not in an ‘official’ relationship, Brad accompanies Angelina to Ethiopia where she adopted six-month- old Zahara.

2006– In January Jolie announces that she is pregnant with Brad’s baby which is also the first public announcement that the couple are in a relationship. Brad adopts her two children in this month and in May Jolie gives birth to a daughter, Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt.

2007– March: Jolie adopts three-year-old Pax Thien from a Vietnamise orphanage.

2008– May: Rumours throughout the media that the couple had a private wedding in New Orleans. Angelina gave birth to twin girls named Isla Marcheline and Amelie Jane

2009- Newspapers and magazines were yet again predicting a star studded wedding for the couple this year! According to Closer magazine Brangelina are rumoured to be adopting another child- this time from India.

2010– January:  News of the world claimed that the couple were to split after they were seen meeting with a divorce lawyer.

February- Brangelina to sue News International who publish News of the World  for going against PCC’s code of conduct with regards to privacy and publishing a ‘misleading statement or distortion’.

February 9, 2010 Posted by | Timeline | , , , , | Leave a comment