The Concert


Directed by: Radu Mihaileanu
Written by:Radu Mihaileanu
Starring: Aleksei Guskov, Melanie Laurent, Dmitri Nazarov, Valeriy Barinov, Francois Berleand, Miou-Miou
Released: April 29, 2010
Grade: B

Thirty years ago, Andrei Filipov (Guskov) was a famous conductor working for the Bolshoi orchestra in Russia.  His promising career came to an abrupt end after he defied an order from the Communist government to sack all Jewish members of his orchestra.  Now, he is a lowly paid cleaner who mops the floors of the theatres in which he performed.

While tidying up the Bolshoi offices, Andrei notices a fax which has just arrived.  It’s a lucrative offer for the Bolshoi orchestra to perform at the Châtelet Theatre in Paris.  It gives Andrei a crazy idea.  He destroys the fax and then calls the Châtelet to accept their offer.  He’s going to put together his own orchestra and take them to Paris… under the guise that they’re the real Bolshoi.

Yes, he wants to reinvigorate his conducting career but there’s another reason why Andrei wants to pull off this elaborate scam.  He has asked for a renowned French violin player named Anne-Marie Jacquet (Laurent) to be the show’s key soloist.  Andrei has followed Anne-Marie’s career closely and this will be his chance to meet her.

The Concert is a mix of comedy and drama.  As you can imagine from this farcical storyline, there are plenty of opportunities for humour.  Just wait until you see the eccentric group of Russian musicians that Andrei assembles for the performance.  From the moment they set foot in Paris, they’re an accident waiting to happen.

The dramatic elements to the story are a little underdeveloped but they culminate with a great finale in which Andrei finally performs his dream concert.  I’m no guru when it comes to classical music but Tchaikovsky's Concerto for Violin and Orchestra is a beautiful piece of music.  Director Radu Mihaileanu weaves glimpses of the both the past and the future into this emotive sequence.

I wasn’t familiar with most of the cast members but Melanie Laurent will catch the eye of many following her memorable performance in last year’s Inglourious Basterds.  She’s great here again.  I don’t know if she can actually play the violin but she sure looks like it.

It didn’t hold my attention all the way through but I liked the ending and I hope others do too.