Monday, January 26, 2015

The Black Mozart

Le Mozart Noir is the French name of this documentary about Joseph Boulogne, Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges, who was the son of a French aristocrat by his black mistress.

He was born in Guadeloupe which was an island in the Caribbean where sugar cane and coffee were grown by French colonials with the help of African slave labor. There were no opportunities for mulattos in that place, so his father took his son to Paris to be educated and raised in privilege. The boy became an excellent swordsman and musician, excelling as a violinist and a composer.

This documentary film includes some historical enactments, musical interludes of performances of his compositions and narration about the history and customs of that era. It paints a vivid picture of a man who though he was very accomplished, exotic and charming was still not totally accepted and was unable to live a normal life as befit a nobleman. He was unable to marry even though women found him interesting and attractive.

His music was lost and then rediscovered. The Tafelmusik Orchestra is featured, playing selections of his music. There are also interviews with musicians about the complexity of technique required to play his music competently and about the emotions that his music evoked.

This Canadian production includes a talented man who adds diversity to the history of great European musical artists and composers.

Here are some scenes from this film.:

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Fruit Hunters

I love fruit!!! A day without fruit is for me like "a day without sunshine!"This is a great little documentary film about fruit by Yung Chang.  I was very pleased to find and watch this film about fruit. It's based on the book by Adam Leith Gollner.

It includes a visit to Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden where you can buy all kinds of fruits. As a fund-raiser, small baskets of special exotic varieties of fruit are auctioned off and the viewer will see one of these auctions in progress.

Diversity is a very important issue and the bananas that are grown commercially have been lacking in diversity and this has been a problem.

Actor Bill Pullman grows a wide variety of fruit on the grounds around his own home. He has collected so many different varieties that he can pick fruit year-round.

It's visually beautiful and informative and it might make you want to try more varieties of fruits!

My favorite quote from this film:

"Fruit tempts us with enlightenment."

Here are some scenes from this documentary film:

Here's the trailer: