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Mozart's Sister

Mozart's Sister

Released 13 April 2012
Director René Féret
Starring


Marc Barbé, David Moreau, Marie Féret, Delphine Chuillot, Clovis Fouin
Writer(s) René Féret
Producer(s) Fabienne Féret, René Féret
Origin France
Running Time 120 minutes
Genre Drama
Rating TBC
62

Hidden talent.

I didn't really know what to expect going into Mozart’s Sister and, to be honest, I'm not all that sure what to make of it coming out. Periodic dramas can be difficult to assess – it is often easy to be lost in the mesmerising attraction of the costumes, art and prestige that can effortlessly transport you from one era to another. Thankfully there is more substance here but enough for it to be rewarding? Questionable.

The film follows child prodigy musician Wolfgang Mozart's sister Nannerl as she struggles to cope with the transition from the life of a child into adulthood. As the family tour Europe as entertainers, Nannerl was able to play a starring role as an accompaniment for her brother. Indeed, the talented daughter of Leopold even composed masterpieces of her own that she would never be able to receive the plaudits for because of her gender.

As the imminent threat of an enforced abandonment of her music and the dreary life as an obliging woman at the constant request of 'man' looms – as was the standard of the period – Nannerl attempts to break from the mould and make it on her own. But ultimately finds that it isn't so easy to escape the reality of the time.

This motion-picture is quite moving, stylish and beautifully portrayed. That said, it is often unclear as to what the overall message of the story is, with a melancholic tale drifting in and out of various emotions. This, I guess, could perhaps be a parallel to Nannerl's own fluctuation as, like any teenager, she desperately tried to define herself. Of course, as a woman her role in society is already defined for her.

Nannerl's ambition to succeed as a musician conflicts with her inner desire to please her family, as it remains obvious that despite her father's ignorance towards her talent the love she holds for them rarely wanes. Mozart's Sister requires patience and it is debatable whether or not you'll come away having learned anything of great importance except for maybe the realisation of all the other women that became disregarded talents throughout the centuries.

- David Caulfield