As often happens in the World of Byrne, the latest news begins as a small blurb at a European film website. Stay with me as I lead you through Gabriel’s next exciting project!
Film Fund Luxembourg unveils the projects selected in its second annual committee
05/05/2021 – New works by Barbara Albert, Margarethe von Trotta and Gérard Corbiau are among the various films supported by the Luxembourg institution
Likewise gracing the list of selected titles is the historical drama Saving Mozart, which is directed by Gérard Corbiau (Farinelli), co-produced with Belgium (Saga Film) and Germany (Film-Line), and which unfolds in Salzburg in 1939 with Irish actor Gabriel Byrne occupying the lead role (€1,500,000, Deal Productions).
Gérard Corbiau directed one of my favorite films, The Music Teacher, back in 1988. That film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, representing Belgium. Starring the bass-baritone legend José van Dam, it is a lovely film about music, and opera especially. Corbiau later directed Farinelli, about the Italian castrato singer Carlo Broschi, and it won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film, representing Belgium, in 1995.
So, Gérard Corbiau is a director who loves music. And now he is directing a film that seems to have something to do with Mozart. Woo hoo!
What is this new film going to be about, really? Well, there is a book. You knew this would happen, right? Yes. The book, Saving Mozart, is a first novel by Raphaël Jerusalmy, published in 2013. It is available at Amazon US in both Kindle and paperback editions and has received generally good reviews: “A novel of one dying man’s act of defiance against the Nazis. This slender, confident debut novel is deliciously atmospheric and tense” (Financial Times).” Here is the Amazon synopsis for the book:
Raphaël Jerusalmy’s debut novel takes the form of the journal of Otto J. Steiner, a former music critic of Jewish descent suffering from tuberculosis in a Salzburg sanatorium in 1939. Drained by his illness and isolated in the gloomy sanatorium, Steiner finds solace only in music. He is horrified to learn that the Nazis’ are transforming a Mozart festival into a fascist event. Steiner feels helpless at first, but an invitation from a friend presents him with an opportunity to fight back. Under the guise of organizing a concert for Nazi officials, Steiner formulates a plan to save Mozart that could dramatically change the course of the war.
Saving Mozart Book Covers
A great review of the book at Amazon:
The film narrative seems to follow the story of the book fairly closely. Some key art to enjoy while we wait for more:
The film has been part of the portfolio at Saga Film since 2017. Their synopsis of the film:
Salzburg, 1939. Mozart’s city is becoming the cultural capital of the Third Reich. Otto Steiner ekes out his days in a Salzburg sanatorium while, in the world outside, History is baring its teeth. Austrian, (a bit) Jewish, (completely) alone, all that matters to him now is music. Tuberculosis eats away at him as much as the petty humiliations of being ill, and, together, they push him close to the edge. He intends to kill the senior doctor in the sanatorium. He intends to kill Hitler as well, and almost manages it. Instead, he will mastermind a musical rebellion… in order to save Mozart!
Film Poster (tiny, but it’s all we’ve got for the moment)
Some of these resources have not been updated since the film first began development in 2017. I’m sure they will all be updated soon to reflect the new financing that has just been made available AND the announcement that Gabriel Byrne is taking the lead role for the film.
Doesn’t this film sound delicious!? Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available! heart
A little treat from The Music Teacher (1988):