of the Wind/C+,B+
Bride of the Wind is the story of Alma Schindler Mahler, a free-spirited Viennese
woman who served as inspiration to a number of famous men of her
time. Muse to composer Gustav Mahler, captured on canvas by Gustav
Klimpt and Oscar Kolkochka, Alma also won the heart of architect Walter
Gropius and poet/novelist Franz Werfel. Sounds like she must have been
one exciting woman.
surveys the Vienna scene. ©Paramount
Directed by Bruce Beresford, the film starts out in colorful
fashion recalling the excitement of turn-of-the-century Imperial Vienna, capturing a scent
of the streets and opulence of its balls, but it quickly retreats into
the dark interior confines of the various homes of Alma Mahler. The
story never manages to soar with the music. Alma is a rather pathetic
character She certainly fails to live up to her lofty reputation. The
music, especially Mahlerís, is often wonderful, but itís luster
fades under the heavy mantle of an all-too reverent script. Even the art
that is much on display fails to excite the imagination.
Sarah Wynter is appealing as Alma Schindler Mahler,
but she's rather boring. Is this the woman who lit a passionate fire
under so many famous men? Wynter lacks the fire needed to communicate
such an independent spirit. Jonathan Pryce is amazing as Gustav Mahler.
With very little apparent make-up he's a doppelganger for the composer.
Pryce delivers a precise portrait of the artist, strangely sympathetic considering
this is really Alma's story. Oscar Kolkolhka is played by Vincent Perez
with rather artificial passion and Walter Gropius gets an
effectively cold architectural performance
The Dolby Digital 5:1 sound track
delivers the sections of beautiful music with an open, enveloping sound
stage. It's equally adept with
the big orchestral pieces and the intimate piano passages. When director
Beresford chooses to turn on the visual charm, the DVD looks quite
lovely. Colors spring to life from the screen. The ball scene is a
delicious explosion of color, boldly saturated yet tightly controlled.
Most scenes are quite sharp and shadow detail appears to be a reasonable
representation of the artistic intent. Lush sets are polished with
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