Thursday, May 05, 2011

The Golden Coach

In an interview about his 1952 film The Golden Coach, Jean Renoir mentions that he had an important collaborator by the name of Antonio Vivaldi. There is a lot of Vivaldi in the film, and the characters of the Commedia dell'arte incorporate unusual instruments into their comedy. There are a bunch of large lutes, a piccolo, a serpent, and, at the very end, there's a character that dances while playing a viola d'amore. There is also a lot of music that is not by Vivaldi. I heard some Martini, and what sounded like Scarlatti--the film is deeply anachronistic to say the least. It is a total fantasy, and a deeply enjoyable one.

The film is in English, and Anna Magnani did not speak English when she made it. She is a remarkable actress who clearly understood the meaning of every line she spoke in the film ("Where is truth? Where does the theater end and life begin?"). Occasionally she speaks in Italian, and she sings in Italian, which is a treat.

Here's the trailer, and here's a great article about the film.

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