Antoine Vivaldi, un prince à Venise, the first film about Vivaldi (1678-1741), has been made by Jean-Louis Guillermou. It is not really a “religious” homage to the great baroque composer, but instead a musical and burlesque film about Vivaldi’s life. Assisted by the musicologist Patrick Barbier, Jean-Louis Guillermou, a former student of the Jesuits, investigates the theory that Vivaldi, an ordained priest at 20, never gave mass because of an incurable and mysterious illness. The film aims to show how Vivaldi was thwarted all his life by a Church intolerant of his music. This is Guillermou’s third film about music, following Mass in C Minor and Il était une fois Jean-Sébastien Bach. Stefano Dionisi (seen in Farinelli) plays the “redhead priest,” Michel Serrault portrays a cruel Venetian bishop, and Michel Galabru is Pope Paul V. Delphine Depardieu and Mélisandre Meertens play Vivaldi’s two sisters. Christian Vadim and Jean Rochefort are also among the cast.
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