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Of the Film Immortal Beloved - Movie Review Example

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Of the Film Immortal Beloved

The film “Immortal Beloved” was released in 1994 and dealt with the life and loves of the famous composer Ludwig van Beethoven. It is both a beautiful tribute to the genius of a man who gave to the world such great masterpieces as the Ninth Symphony (made while completely deaf) and an attempt to throw new light into a mystery that has perplexed and fascinated many Beethoven scholars and researchers. In particular, it concerns the mystery behind the true identity of the “Unsterbliche Gelliebte” or the Immortal Beloved. Three letters that were found in the private files of the renowned singer were addressed to this Immortal Beloved. The movie begins upon the death of Beethoven and his assistant is faced with the task of carrying out the instructions in the Last Will and Testament. He chances upon one of the letters addressed to an “Immortal Beloved” and wonders who this might be. The movie then shows a series of flashbacks from the famous musician’s past and comes to the conclusion, after showing Schindler interviewing several people, that Beethoven’s Immortal Beloved is none other than Johanna Reiss, the daughter of a prosperous Viennese upholsterer named Anton van Reiss. In the film, she had become pregnant out of wedlock with Beethoven’s child, but because of a series of unfortunate events, she did not marry him, but rather she married his brother Kaspar. The movie, however, cannot be considered a faithful depiction of the life of Beethoven. It is a work of fiction and should be taken as such. There are several things about it that were true, such as the fact that Schindler was indeed a secretary and a close confidante, that he had gotten into a legal battle with his sister-in-law Johanna (the one who the film suggests is the Immortal Beloved) and there is indeed the love letter which was found in the possession of Beethoven after his death. Most importantly, it showed the intensity of the man and his music, and the raging emotions that this music depicted. “It is the power of music to carry one into the mental state of the composer,” is a powerful line in the movie, delivered by Beethoven, as magnificently played by Gary Oldman. Maynard Solomon, a Beethoven biographer and scholar, had called the love letter the only “unalloyed love letter of [Beethoven's] bachelor existence—an uncontrolled outburst of passionate feeling, exalted in tone, confused in thought, and ridden with conflicting emotions" (Beethoven, p. 159). However, and this is an important historical inaccuracy, it cannot be true that the recipient of that letter wherein he referred to the unidentified woman as  "mein Engel, mein alles, mein Ich . . . meine unsterbliche Geliebte" (which translates as "my angel, my all, my I . . . my immortal beloved") According to Maynard Solomon, the woman being referred to in the letter is not Johanna Reiss Beethoven, but rather, it is a married woman by the name of Antonie Brentano. Her husband and sister-in-law are friends of Beethoven, with the latter even introducing the composer to the famous German poet Goethe. Through fine investigation skills and deft use of dates, Solomon had managed to place Brentano in Prague from July 1 to July 4, 1812, when Beethoven says he saw her. Brentano also went ahead to Karlsbad, a small spa town, where she and Beethoven had planned to meet later that summer. Beethoven had also dedicated the op. 109 piano sonata, the magisterial Diabelli Variations, and the English edition of the op. 111 piano sonata to Brentano and her daughter Maximiliane. Maynard Solomon suggests that Brentano, who was a great fan of the music of Ludwig Beethoven, had also fallen in love with him and their relationship, even though short-lived because Beethoven could not see any long-term prospects in carrying on a relationship with a married woman, was a serious one. Fanny Giannatasio, who Beethoven had met at a later time, had bewailed the fact that he was still in love with another woman and Solomon concludes that it was ...Show more


The film “Immortal Beloved” was released in 1994 and dealt with the life and loves of the famous composer Ludwig van Beethoven.It is both a beautiful tribute to the genius of a man who gave to the world such great masterpieces as the Ninth Symphony and an attempt to throw new light into a mystery that has perplexed and fascinated many Beethoven scholars…
Author : itorphy
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