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IL BOEMO

The Bohemian

Petr Vaclav | 2022 | 140 MINS
Czech Rep/Italy/Slovakia | Subtitles
UK Premiere – Czech Republic

‘Amadeus’ meets ‘Dangerous Liaisons’. Looking for work as a violinist, Josef Mysliveček, a friend of Mozart, comes into the orbit of a rich young woman. She introduces him to a hedonistic existence, free from religious intolerance. Josef is given an incredible commission: to write an opera for the San Carlo opera house.

In Detail

We are proud to present the UK premiere of ‘Il Boemo’ for our Gala opening. This prestigious film has been selected as the Czech nomination for next year’s Foreign Language Oscar.

It captures the glorious decadence of 18th century Italy inhabited by Czech composer Josef Mysliveček (Vojtech Dyk), nicknamed Il Boemo. In Petr Václav’s film, decay acts as a counterpoint: when we meet Mysliveček shortly before his death, just shy of his 44th birthday, it is manifested in his syphilis-ravaged and mask-shrouded face.

The story then unravels to reveal him in his youthful glory. It would be well nigh impossible to watch ‘Il Boemo’ without recalling Milos Forman’s ‘Amadeus’, but although they share some DNA, especially in terms of old-school filmmaking, Mysliveček is a very different prospect from Mozart in terms of personality. Václav shows how the Czech, who moved to Italy in search of fame, was much less volatile than the younger composer whom he influenced. He appears driven less by his carnal appetites than by an overwhelming desire to see his music performed - although that didn’t stop him adopting a hedonistic lifestyle.

It is the squalor beneath the sublime, the grime beneath the grandeur, that is at the heart of ‘Il Boemo’, a sumptuous period piece that’s also an ambitious slice of musical archaeology. Václav (‘The Way Out’, ‘We Are Never Alone’) spent 12 years as writer and director on this project which unearths the forgotten biography of a composer and his work. The latter re-emerges to glorious effect in a visually and musically vivid film that largely transcends staid period drama conventions with its ripely conceived backstage and bedroom intrigue. Magnifique!

If booking for the Opening Gala on Aug 10th: Dinner at Brasserie Blanc at 18:30, film at 20:30

Our thanks to Loco Films for this screening.

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