Edited: December 6, 2022, 3:51 PM · Does anybody have some info. on this film? Perhaps some people from the Toronto area may have seen it: it had its premiere in a film festival there. It is due for release in the US early in 2023 but I don't know when it will be released in Europe.

It looks...a little ropy! The violin playing has not even been faked, the actor whipping the instrument from his shoulder with a flourish the instant the music finishes. The music itself seems inappropriate. This view though is purely based on the trailer, which I'll post below. On a sample of less than three minutes it is unfair to judge, and I will certainly see the film when it appears here, but I already have doubts about its seriousness.

There are two narratives (there may be more) to be opened up and examined here, and they both interest me deeply. One is the musical story of a violinist and composer still not fully recognized. The other concerns the way a talented colonial figure and an enslaved person from a French Caribbean possession made his way to success in metropolitan France. Will the film answer questions such as how did he learn the instrument, where did he learn composition, what prejudices did he face, and what did he feel about the French Revolution, as revolutionary France declared all French citizens free and equal, yet sought to re-enslave Saint-Domingue?

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December 6, 2022, 6:23 PM · Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but the violin playing to me seems quite fake. I’m optimistic about the film, but having written a research paper on Joseph Bologne (not super long just about 12-15 pages) I know a little about him. He was born to a slave woman in the French Colony of Guadeloupe and his father was Georges de Bologne Saint-Georges who was a wealthy planter who owned his mother Nanon. He thought of Joseph as his legitimate son so he gave him his last name and gave him all the opportunities that he would’ve given his other children. He took music lessons from Gossec and if I remember correctly I think he might have studied violin with Leclair. He was also contemporaries with Mozart and Salieri. He was also 11 years older than Mozart having been born in 1745 while Mozart was born in 1756.

He was pretty successful in the music world (and also considered the best fencer in all of France) but still faced lots of hardships due to racial prejudice since he was half black. He also led the best orchestra in France as well. I think they could explore both narratives in the film. He was a successful violinist and composer who isn’t recognized, but he of course was a previously enslaved. So obviously one of (if not the most strongest) reason he isn’t recognized today or even back in his time is because he was black. Sure he was only half black but that was enough back then.

Either way, I hope they do his story justice. He certainly deserves it and it was long overdue.

December 6, 2022, 10:03 PM · Check out his works on IMSLP (and don't miss the "Collections" tab):,_Joseph_Bologne

Really delightful stuff, and a different take on the classical era from Mozart. I programmed both his Op. 11 Symphonies the past year, and the string quartets are really fun to play.

December 6, 2022, 11:10 PM · The younger actor, at 0:18, looks like he's had some violin training. Posture is decent, he draws a straight bow down and up, string crossing looks natural enough, but the bow hold bothers me. He's not playing the notes heard although some effort has been made to approximate the pitch contour. The main actor seems to have been taught faking well enough. Head and left hand are not too bad but he's given away by the bowing (arm, hand, contact point) at 0:42-0:43 - blink and you'll miss it. Remember that physical flourishes can be synced with the audio by movie magic.
Edited: December 7, 2022, 11:17 AM · This seems like it's aimed at people that have only a passing familiarity with classical music, but I find that most of the time, classical music in film serves mostly as a highbrow signifier in mostly middlebrow films, which is fine, but I get nauseous watching actors flail about miming violin movements.

This seems to fall into the formula trap of the historic biopic, but maybe it's just a bad trailer.

December 7, 2022, 12:51 PM · I hope it is better than the trailer makes it look, because his story is very compelling, and I like his music, having played some of it with a chamber orchestra last year.

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