(Visual) Notes on Culture
Prova d'orchestra/Orchestra Rehearsal ~ 1978 ~ Written and Directed by Federico Fellini

Orchestra Rehearsal is not technically a "film" (it was made for West German television, though shot on film) and inhabits one of the conventionally agreed upon "lesser" stations of the maestro's work. Similar in scope and technique to his other inventive television documentaries (Fellini: A Director's Notebook and The Clowns), Orchestra Rehearsal blurs the distinctions of fantasy and objectivity that distinguishes the greatest "counter-factual" documentary work. Though styled after a documentary, in this case Fellini presents a tale of social and economic unrest that is contained within the seemingly innocuous focus on the practice habits of a minor orchestra.

In the process, we witness an epic struggle mounting between the unionized musicians (who range from the nostalgic/contented harp player to some anarchic young firebrands) and the conductor. The conductor character emits terrible authority in the grand continental tradition, invoking thoughts of Wagner and other mad geniuses. The extreme tensions that mount, capped by a Lord of the Flies style frenzy, typify the Fellinian world view. This relatively short film serves as more of an allegory for an embedded distrust circulating among different generations of Europeans, recovering from the shadowing crises of the Second World War and the movements toward revolution of the 1960s.

Taken as a whole, Fellini manages to shatter the myth of the orchestra-unit as a bastion of sanctity for the so-called serious arts. Though this T.V. effort lacks some of his trademark inventiveness until the very end, and despite its relatively limited scope, it reminds of a time when international co-productions on television yielded interesting results.
Comments: Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home
Personal news and "found" images.

My Photo

Writer on film, culture, art, media, and music.

July 2006 / August 2006 / September 2006 / October 2006 / November 2006 / December 2006 / January 2007 / February 2007 / March 2007 / April 2007 / May 2007 / June 2007 / July 2007 / August 2007 / September 2007 / October 2007 / November 2007 / December 2007 / January 2008 / February 2008 / March 2008 / April 2008 / May 2008 / June 2008 / July 2008 / August 2008 / January 2009 / February 2009 / March 2009 / April 2009 / May 2009 / June 2009 /

Powered by Blogger

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]