I had heard about this film when it was still development a few years ago. Having visited both Vienna AND Prague a few years ago, naturally I’m intrigued to see this as it was filmed on location.
I know that many viewers and critics would compare this movie to the Oscar-winning Amadeus. Now, not only that it isn’t really fair, but it’s also not really accurate as this one isn’t so much a biopic, but focuses more on Mozart’s time in Prague in 1786, so no Antonio Salieri in sight here. Director Brian Ashby, who co-wrote the screenplay with John Stephenson fuses real-life elements with fictitious events, that is a scandal involving the woman he was having an affair with while he was in Prague. Supposedly the event inspired his work in ‘Don Giovanni,’ which in actuality was based on the legends of Don Juan, a fictional libertine and seducer.
Mozart’s arrival in Prague was quite highly-anticipated by the elite society in Prague, at least those who gathered at Baron Saloka’s lavish dinner party. The talented James Purefoy portrayed Saloka with such an air of arrogant pomposity that seemed intriguing at first. The baron wasn’t as enthused about the musical genius, but he decided he’d invite Mozart to Prague anyway. Welsh actor Aneurin Barnard, who I think is a musically-gifted actor, is wonderfully-cast as Mozart. Being that he was in his early 30s during filming, he’s also age-appropriate for the role and he brought a fun, playful take to the music maestro who’s got a reputation for being a flirt and a womanizer.
I’ve actually never seen Samantha Barks before (though most people might have seen her in 2012 Les Misérables), but I quite like her as Josefa Duchek. I do know she can sing and her beautiful operatic voice is on display here. Morfydd Clark, whom I saw in Love & Friendship a few years ago, also got to sing in this movie as Zuzanna Lubtak, the woman Mozart has an affair with.
It’s Purefoy’s Baron Saloka who I think is the weakest part of this film, and it’s not a dis to the talented actor’s performance. On the contrary, I think the actor’s acting still saved the poorly-written and one-dimensional character. The baron just seemed evil for evil’s sake, but his motivation isn’t clear or well-explored at all. I think part of it it’s the film’s identity crisis, if you will. It tries to be a musical drama as well as a murder mystery thriller, but the latter is so undercooked given the lack of suspense.
Despite the flaws though, I still quite enjoy watching this film as I like Mozart’s music and am a fan of the period drama genre. Visually, the movie is beautiful to–the production design, set pieces and costumes are meticulously designed. The fact that it’s filmed on location, both indoor and outdoor, certainly lends authenticity and the cinematography by Michael Brewster is quite stunning.
If you’re a classical music fan, you might enjoy this one. There are certainly plenty of scenes of Mozart composing music and conducting his work, so clearly the filmmakers have huge admiration for the musical genius. The filmmaker’s idea of reimagining the events in Prague as his inspiration for Don Giovanni perhaps sounds good on paper, but somehow it doesn’t turn out as compelling as it could have been.
Have you seen Interlude in Prague? Well, what did you think?
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